I have to live within a budget. This means that my ‘outgoes’ do not exceed my ‘income’. I thought everyone who was a mature adult lived that way. With all the conversation concerning the nation’s debt crisis, I see that my assumption was wrong.
I have a hard time dealing with billions of dollars. What is a billion, anyway? What I can deal with is tens, twenties, hundreds, thousands. What I can do is look at my monthly bills, look at my monthly income, and parcel out the income to meet the needs of the debt commitments. Sounds easy right?
I remember being a young mother. I was by choice a stay-at-home mom. My husband and I decided that if we were going to have a family, one of us needed to be the stay at home parent. Because my husband was the larger wage earner, his job was to stay employed. Even though this was his goal, he went through periods of joblessness.
How easy it would have been during those days to not worry about a budget. Our income was drastically cut, but our debt commitment was not lowered. We spent countless sleepless nights trying to figure out how to pay all our bills. No one gave us a blank check. My parents did give us short-term loans from time to time. Our grown children pitched in at Christmas time so we had ‘santa’ for the babies. However, the stress with our own debt crisis was not abated.
I somewhat understand what the government is going through: lots of bills, not enough income. However, I do not understand the mentality that we just raise the debt ceiling. This encourages further spending, still without an increase in income.
In my world, this does not work well. Should I decide to spend more money than I have in the bank, I am hit with punitive measures in the form of NSF fees, charge backs from all the creditors I gave hot checks to, and a negative credit rating. Because I know that these consequences are in place, my family makes sure that it lives within its budget.
My mother tells me that as a little girl, I asked for something while we were out shopping. I don’t know what I asked for, but my mother says that she had to tell me no, we did not have the money for the item. She tells me that my response to her was to remind her that I could see checks in her purse. I suppose that at an early age, I equated paper (checks) to money. Mother went on to tell me that even though she had checks, she didn’t have excess cash on hand to purchase the object of my desire.
Thank God, she was mature; thank God she passed on her keen budgetary wisdom to her children. Raising the debt limit sound like writing checks with no money in the bank. Where are the adults in our government? Where are the adults who will say, sorry, though we have checks, we have no money to back those checks? Where are the adults who will say, sorry, no, we cannot afford that?
I am looking at the voting record of our legislators. I am, like Santa, making a list and checking it twice. I will be voting for the adults in the room who will make the smart, mature choice, and quit writing checks with no money to back them up.
Until next time,