Column on Just Say “No”

Just Say “No”

Tibor R. Machan

After sustained profligacy comes the dreaded cold turkey. Any kind of habitual indulgence can only be stopped if at some point the “addict” says “no,” with no excuses.

I would assume most people have been through this. I know a few personally. They have kept up spending in the face of lacking funds an even lacking the promise of funds. Credit card companies accept clients with hardly any creditworthiness–indeed, I have been there myself. So how is this to be brought to a halt?

I would suggest that deep cuts in one`s spending habits is the best way. Sure, few people can go cold turkey on food or necessary medicine. But what about going to fancy nail salons? What about having premium coffees every morning, noon and afternoon? What about getting top of the line clothing and cars?

The trick profligate politicians use is to raise the specter of Draconian elimination of, say, social security and medicare benefits but this is a phony ploy. After all, both of these programs are supposedly funded by beneficiaries themselves. They are supposed to be more like insurance than like welfare.

What is certainly not essential to anyone is, for instance, subsidies to all the varieties of special interest groups. Or huge public works that only benefit some select but influential citizens. What about selling off some public lands? Why does the government, any government, own and maintain national forests and parks? Who will go without basic necessities if these are seriously cut back?

One could continue forever with the list of available cuts in federal and other government spending that would not impact the indigent or elderly. Never mind that even here the idea that government exists to fund such programs is perverse. Does that count as securing our rights? Certainly not–no one has a right to other people`s money and work, not unless there has been a mutually agreed to deal about these.

The debt ceiling must be dealt with by administering a total halt and this may well be the time to fess up to that fact. Think of it as indispensible financial house cleaning, something every family needs now and then. It would be unthinkable to dump all of one`s debts on total strangers who happen to live nearby. And it would be even less thinkable to dump it all on members of future generations who aren`t even around to protest or consent.

Of course some people will feel the pinch of the ceiling. But that is the price that has to be paid when so many people think they can get something from nothing. However drastic the remedy, it is indeed a remedy.

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