Back when we were attending Millville Grade School, my old buddy Stinky Wilmont used to look forward to visiting his grandmother in Kentucky every summer. I don’t recall which part of the state she lived in, but I do recall that we didn’t have as many roads back then as we have nowadays, and I remember Stinky telling me that he would enjoy the drive to her house a lot more if the trip could have been started in Jeffersonville.
I never made very many trips to Kentucky, but I did make a trip every summer to Camp Mack up in northern Indiana, and I shared Stinky’s sentiments that the trip would have been a lot easier if we had started a little closer to our final destination to begin with.
But Stinky didn’t live in Jeffersonville, and I didn’t live in Milford, and it didn’t take too long to figure out that wherever we were going, we about had to start from where we were.
Several years ago, our federal government started expanding, and it started spending a lot of money on a lot of programs it hadn’t spent money on before. As is normal for governments, they tended to spend more money than they had. A lot more. And whenever they spent more than they had, they created the federal debt. Some of the people that were running the government back then thought that we ought to put a limit on how much debt the federal government could have. Some of the people running the government today think the same thing. Most of them don’t.
By the time you read this, congress will have most likely raised the debt limit for the 75th time since they started having debt limits. I’m not sure a limit still qualifies as a limit after it has been raised 75 times, but that’s what they call it, and I guess if you’re running things, you can call it whatever you want to.
In the last few years, a lot of people have decided that we would probably be better off if the government would stop spending more money than it has. Some of those people are even helping run the government. We even sent some of them to congress. Most of them probably just voted to increase the debt limit.
I’m not sure why. Admittedly, the government has gotten used to spending more money than it has, and admittedly it is going to be an arduous task to rein in that spending. But we have to start somewhere, and it would be hard to argue that it would be a lot easier if we were starting with a debt that was only a few billion dollars, instead of 14 or 15 trillion dollars. But it seems they should realize that adding a couple trillion more isn’t going to make it any easier, either.
We don’t always get to choose where we start, and we don’t always get to start at the beginning. Sometimes we don’t get to start in Jeffersonville or Milford. Sometimes we just have to start where we are.
Even if it’s Millville. Or $14 trillion in debt.
Rex Bell is the author of Stinky Shorts, a collection of libertarian parables, as well as the Wayne County Chairman.