- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 21, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

“When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

The federal government has dug itself into a hole over the years ($10.6 trillion on the books) by borrowing and overspending. It incurred annual budget deficits in all but eight of the past 58 years (1951, 1956, 1957, 1960, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001). It has made deals on Social Security and Medicare and promises on Medicaid off the books that are projected to cost so much it very likely will be unable to deliver on them in the not-so-distant future.

Now it has begun digging itself deeper into its hole with its Troubled Asset Relief Program ($700 billion) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (more than $800 billion) and by considering the direct purchase of toxic loans from financial institutions - all with borrowed money and in the name of stimulating the economy.

A great many people in the United States also are in financial holes caused by overspending and living beyond their means, in large part because of federal government policies through the years. The worst part of the federal government’s stimulation packages is that they are designed to encourage the nation’s people once again to overspend and live beyond their means; i.e., to continue digging their holes deeper.

When one has been carousing late into the night and imbibing heavily of alcoholic beverages, he wakes up with a king-size hangover in the morning. The favorite remedy for the hangover is a few more shots of John Barleycorn. This may provide some immediate relief, but then it takes longer to get over the hangover. There is reason to believe that the nation’s economic hangover will last longer than it would if the government applied no stimuli.

WALTER J. LANDER

Alexandria

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