Saturday, September 23, 2006

Suits me...

I have a suit hanging my closet that I only bring out occasionally for special events, like when somebody gets married for the first time. Or when somebody dies for the first time, and maybe for a 50th wedding anniversary. But only if they’re good friends, or good family, and even then it’s still just a maybe. I just don’t like wearing a suit.

But the other day my wife of 30 years suggested that I wear my suit to have a picture taken for this year’s campaign photo. (She’s been my wife of 30 years because I learned long ago when a suggestion was more than just a suggestion.) So I pulled out the suit, emptied 3 or 4 memorial cards from various funeral homes, along with a Starlite mint, out of the inside vest pocket, and proceeded to put the ensemble on.

I’m not sure how long it had been since Susan suggested that I wear that suit. I am sure there was not enough fabric in it now to allow the buttons and button holes to get together in any manner that would still allow me to breathe or remain conscious.

I don’t know exactly when I reached the point that my suit wouldn’t fit anymore. I can’t nail it down to one specific cheeseburger, or one milkshake, or one piece of pie that I should have avoided. I’m pretty sure it was the combination of many of each of these that brought about this embarrassing predicament, and I’m equally sure that just skipping a piece of pie every now and then won’t get me back in that suit any time soon.

I also know that Susan was right when she “suggested” that it was going to take a lifestyle change, like eating better and joining in on her morning walks in order to get my weight under control. Just cutting an occasional calorie wasn’t going to do it.

I’ve found the same to be true with our government. I’m not sure when things got out of control. I know that my property taxes have increased 450% in the last 25 years. I know that the national debt has increased from 1 trillion dollars to over 8 trillion dollars in the last 25 years. Sales tax, income tax, payroll tax and a myriad of new and questionable taxes have crept in and crept up. Somewhere along the line Americans started paying about 47% of their income just to cover taxes and the increased cost of over-regulation. We can’t place the blame on just one government program, or just one politician, or even with just one party.

I do know these things can’t be fixed by simply suspending the sales tax on gasoline, or by putting a 2% cap on property taxes while increasing assessments, or by simply passing the debt created by our over-spending on to our children and grandchildren. These things can’t be fixed by making government bigger.

If government is going to be brought under control, it’s going to take a change in attitude from voters. A change in attitude that places more value on freedom and responsibility, and less reliance on the government to seize and redistribute your money, and your neighbor’s money, according to the whims of those in power.

It’s also going to take a new crop of elected officials that have the same attitude, and the same values.

At least that’s what my wife suggests.

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