My Mother-in-Law — The Ideal Politician
By Marilyn Snyder
I wish my mother-in-law were in charge of the country’s money.
Of the Tea Party values, she would rank fiscal responsibility first.
As a first generation American, she might ask our politicians: If the United States collapses financially like Stockton, San Bernardino and Detroit, to where will people flee?
Detroit’s population fell from 2 million to 700,000 as their debt grew, but its citizenry could at least go to other cities that were better managed and resume their lives. If the United States goes bankrupt, to which country would you flee? Greece?
To conservatives, fiscal responsibility means not overspending, a balanced budget, some money set aside for a rainy day. Well, that’s pretty extreme! Or so say those who think that our local, state and federal governments can ignore these basic budgeting fundamentals.
I just wish our elected officials had the mindset of my beloved mother-in-law.
Bless her heart, she lived to be 92 and was never a financial drain on any of her eight children or large extended family. She never owned a car, only traveled when one of the family took her with them. Most of the updates to her home came from her children’s gifts.
If she couldn’t afford it, she did without. Frugality was her lifestyle and her choice because she decided at a young age she would “never be a burden” on her children.
Both my husband and I are fiscal conservatives because we grew up poor.
He climbed out of poverty by joining the military, while I sold Christmas trees and typed my way through college.
Our fathers were working class guys–bricklayer and shipbuilder, our moms housewives.
Because of our many siblings, every step up was an independent climb, sans family financial support.
Numerous friends had the same climb–the norm for our generation. We had to bite the bullet, face the music, suck it up–there was no alternative if we wanted to make it.
And that’s exactly what our elected officials need to think like.
Here in Redlands, our City Council needs to bite the bullet of our unfunded liabilities–because they must not leave an unresolved financial burden behind them when they leave office.
The state of California recently claimed a balanced budget, even a budget surplus, studiously ignoring the $27 billion elephant in the budget that refuses to go away, though our Democratic legislature painstakingly tiptoes around it.
Forbes Online says: “To use Jerry Brown’s own words, California has a ‘wall of debt,’ which doesn’t include unfunded pension and medical liability “” and that wall of debt is not included in the budget.” (July 8)
The federal government–wait! That’s a problem so big, this column doesn’t have room for it.
What do you call 17 trillion elephants in the U.S. budget?
I call it a monstrous burden on our children.
A grotesque ball and chain even Sisyphus would be unwilling to exchange for his stone, an albatross that has been inflicted on our grandchildren.
Consider this: They won’t be able to afford our great-grandchildren!
This runaway deficit spending compels us to confront our elected officials because this massive millstone of national debt is a grave threat to our national independence and our own personal and economic liberty.
We have already witnessed how various countries are now counseling us, yes, us (!) on how we should handle our economic problems — those selfsame countries that are in worse financial straits than we are. That’s like having a drug addict counsel you on how to get off drugs.
What our elected officials should do is ask my mother-in-law for help.
But since she’s not around, listen to Thomas Jefferson’s wisdom: “The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity [is] swindling futurity on a large scale.”
And if you and I and our friends and families aren’t clamoring on the doors of our elected officials demanding more prudent policies, more frugality, more saving for a rainy day, then we surely deserve the outcome.
Incidentally, Mom, the ideal politician, left this earth not owing anyone a single dime.
God bless you, Margaret.
Redlands Tea Party Cabinet Member
July 30, 2013