Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The writing on the wall...

There are a lot of things that I don't remember from high school. I don't remember much from Mrs. Warner's Latin I or Latin II. Sometimes I think I can remember things that I really can't, and then sometimes I just remember them wrong. I guess as soon as I realized that I probably wasn't going to be accepted to medical school, Latin just didn't seem quite so important.

I do tend to remember things that I think are important a little bit better. In Driver's Education, Mr. Harrison taught us that we should stay behind the car we were following the distance of one car length per each 10 miles per hour we were traveling, so that if you were driving 60 miles per hour, you would be six car lengths behind. He said that even if you couldn't get stopped in that distance, at least you would have time to swerve and avoid a crash, or slow down enough that the damage wouldn't be as great. I always thought that sounded like a pretty good idea. My old buddy Stinky Wilmont always thought it was just a waste of road.

I guess cars are a lot shorter now than they were when I was in high school, so I'm not sure that strategy would be as effective nowadays. I heard a commercial a while back from an insurance company, and they recommended staying three seconds behind the car in front of you. That sounded like a good idea too, but the last time I left three seconds between me and the car in front of me, two semi's, a motor home, and a Good Humor ice cream truck managed to squeeze into the opening.

I'm convinced we could save ourselves a lot of misery if we paid a little more attention to what was happening in front of us, and reacted a little better before we reach that point.

We've known for a long time that the federal government has been spending more money than it is collecting. Some people see this and think the federal government ought not to spend so much money. Some people just think it ought to collect more. And while we were watching that, but not really doing anything about it, the individual states started doing the same thing.

This year California is on pace to spend $25 billion more than collects. Illinois is looking at $13 billion. New Jersey is at about $11 billion. Some states decided that it might be time to put a check on some of their spending, but once you're $25 billion in the hole, it's about like hitting the brakes after you've already hit the wall. And then there are some people in some of those states don't believe they have a problem, just like Stinky Wilmont never believed it was possible he could ever have an accident.

Indiana's budget gap is still in the millions instead of billions. I'm not sure that qualifies us to consider ourselves lucky, but it does give us a little more braking time than some of the other states have allowed themselves.

Hopefully we can take advantage of that and start making the necessary adjustments before we hit the wall.

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