Living within our means forces painful choices, especially once a community becomes addicted to living on debt. Every budget cut hurts someone. Unwillingness to make any cuts, however, will be destructive to the economy: will hurt everyone. Those who doubt this, look to California.
This, I repeat, is a moral, not a political or partisan, question. To live beyond one’s means is, in the short term, to consume without producing – to become a drone fed and cared for by the productive class. In the long term, it’s unsustainable. The debt will come due. That’s true for Republicans and Democrats, Marxists and libertarians, rich and poor, independents, flat-earthers, whatever.
The debt will come due: and the ultimate disgrace would be for the present generation to slough it off on the next.
For this reason, we must support those elected officials willing to make hard choices. I’m pleased to find the new governor of Virgina, Bob McDonnell, among this group. He has made a start, cutting $2.3 billion from the state budget. Even after the cuts, the state remains $4 billion in the red – but that hasn’t stopped the inevitable screams of outrage.
“We’re really throwing kids in the poorest districts under the bus,” is the accusation by a teacher’s union representative.
That’s the kind of charge that in the past has frightened politicians into inaction. I hope Gov. McDonnell has the intestinal fortitude to resist, because I believe that a large majority of us Virginians will endorse this effort to put the future ahead of the present. It’s painful – to pretend otherwise would a lie. But the only alternative is self-delusion, burying our heads in the sand. The debt will come due.
I note that the new governor in New Jersey is doing the same thing. I found it psychologically impossible to do a “New Jersey the model” post, however – a Virginia prejudice, I’m sure.