Monday, December 08, 2008

The Joke's on us, WE are the source of "Govt Money"

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During my two-year tenure on the “government money” payroll, I learned the foundational error that now greatly accounts for the financial meltdown of America and a public debt of nearly a trillion dollars.

This ain’t rocket science, and one need not be named Friedman or Bernanke to get it.

Our civil engineering department had a yearly budget, paid for by “government money.” The object of the budget writers was to get more money in the coming year than they had gotten in the last year. To this end, whenever the fiscal year’s end approached, there was a mad dash — fully sanctioned by every university employee, from the president to the deans to the department heads to the lowliest secretary — to spend, spend, spend until not a single penny was left in the budget unspent.

Frivolous, wasteful, purely gluttonous spending on completely unnecessary things was the order of the day and every employee got quickly into the hang of it. Imagine an outlandishly high credit limit on a credit card for which the bills never arrive at one’s own door. No luxury was considered too luxurious in the mad dash to spend every penny of allocated “government money.” The theory was that if a budget wasn’t spent out, then the higher-up bureaucrats would cut next year’s budget instead of increasing it.

I never again worked on any government payroll, but I’ve known lots of others who have. I’ve heard tales from career government workers that have nearly made my head spin.

What’s been so carelessly sown must now be reaped. We are the only source of “government money.” The laugh’s on us.

And the medicine we’ll be forced to take will not be easily swallowed — no matter how much sugar we add to the spoon.