(Note: The following comments were submitted to the Joplin Globe as a letter to the editor. I could not agree more that we personally, and as a government, need to live within our means. I have been concerned about runaway deficits for years and I know many of you are as well. The problem is that social liberals think that everything is critical and that the "rich" will pay for everything they want. It can't work that way in the real world, but they don't understand or care. So, here are my thoughts on their recent editorial and intend to keep their feet to the fire.)
I was extremely pleased to read the Joplin Globe editorial of May 28. The headline was "Deficit a problem." The editorial board was praising a local couple for sending back their stimulus checks. And the editorial ended with the statement that, "We have an obligation to balance the needs of the now ... with the needs of the future."
As a child growing up, I was taught that you should not live beyond your means and my parents lived that. If they couldn't afford something, they didn't buy it. And that's the way it should be for our government (which uses our money).
But, that is not how our federal and most state governments view taxpayer money. They act like a balanced budget is a hindrance to spending more and more on social programs with little concern for the future.
In Missouri, we are constitutionally bound to not deficit spend. Something for which I am very grateful. But, states like California and Illinois spend like money is no concern. I wouldn't care except that the rest of the country is expected to bail them out for their poor fiscal policies. And then it's my concern.
I have found that almost everyone agrees that we should rein in government spending right up to the point where someone suggests cutting a program that the citizen actually likes. Then the citizen becomes enraged that we would cut something so important.
Most people want it both ways but, in reality, you can't spend taxpayer money on everything that might be good, while at the same time living with restraint. That's called being responsible, for those of you who need reminding.
I intend to clip the Globe editorial out and put it on the side of my refrigerator so that I can remember their words. If, or most likely when, they endorse some kind of new spending program that they think is vitally needed. I'm going to be right back here with another letter to the editor, reminding them that you have to balance the needs of the now with the needs of the future.
Kevin Wilson is a former state representative who was born in Goodman and now lives in Neosho. Opinions expressed are those of the author.