Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mr. President: If I can budget, so can you.

Published September 14, 2008
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

It’s election season again, and I’m not afraid to publicly state that I’m not impressed with my choices. My apologies to all the two party system fans out there, but the choice between the “blah blah blah” of the Republicans and the “yada yada yada” of the Democrats makes me weep for the future of our country. Yes, I know I cry a lot anyway, but we’re talking weeping here. WEEPING!

Tears or no tears, I do consider myself a responsible citizen, and as such, I have registered to vote and plan to cast my ballot in November. This year, however, I will not be listening to the lowest common denominator pandering or the pie in the sky promises, because I won’t be voting for either major candidate.

An open letter to Barack Obama and John McCain:

Thank you for trying, but I’m sorry that I cannot give either of you my vote. No, it’s not your stance on abortion or health care or oil prices. I understand you were hoping I’d be swayed by meaningless rhetoric, but I’m more of a down-to-earth kind of gal. There is only one issue that interests me this election. I’m talking about balancing the budget.

Oh, I know one of you has promised to do it right after you put the government in charge of this and socialize that. I know the other one of you has dubiously promised to have it done by the end of your term. I know you say you want to balance the budget, and I think that’s great! I mean, if I can manage to live on a budget, certainly you can too.

But here’s the thing. Neither of you is really going to do it. It’s okay. I’m not angry or anything. I’m just saying I understand where you’re coming from. You have to tell me what the pollsters manipulate me into saying I really want from you in order to get my vote. I know you’re probably going to tell me not to hate the player—hate the game, and I’m down with that. I’m just asking the player to stop playing the game I hate and start doing something for America.

A few ideas for a balanced budget from a practical mom:

Use spreadsheets. They’re awesome. You just plug the numbers in and they do the math for you! It’s AMAZING! I used to budget completely by hand, and I wonder if that’s your problem. Little expenses here and there add up. If you had a spreadsheet to tell you that you’re actually spending $900 billion a year on corporate bailouts, congressional cover-ups, and bridges that lead to nowhere (I think that one’s called No Child Left Behind…but I may be wrong) we probably wouldn’t have that pesky $5 trillion national debt.

Replace those expensive state dinners with something more American. How about a weenie roast? Or you could do what my in-laws do when amassing their enormous family for a get-together. BYOP, or Bring Your Own Picnic. Maybe a potluck would be more generous when meeting with dignitaries from third-world countries, but certainly the King of Saudi Arabia could manage to stop by KFC and buy a bucket and some soda for his crew.

Consider a new Balanced Budget Amendment, incorporating some of the language of the 27th Amendment. Something like, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of Senators and Representatives, shall take effect in the absence of a balanced budget.” I really think if their raises depended on it, the men and women of the Congress would accept a balanced budget from you without an argument. It’s a simple matter of cause and effect. If I want to get my hair cut every two months, I can’t spend all our money on convenience store snacks. I know this from shaggy, unruly, and frumpy experience.

You may wonder why I’m explaining any of this when I have no intention of voting for either of you. I’m giving you my ideas because I know that one of you WILL be president. If you manage to balance the budget by the end of your term, I will happily cast my vote for your reelection at that time.

If you don’t, I’ll probably decide to run against you and put Congress on a four-year-long entertainment budget restriction.