U.S. needs ‘spenders anonymous’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 25, 2011

Upon pushing a tax plan that, in theory, will help drive down our national debt and, in theory, get America working again, leaders have ignored a stark reminder — an addiction to spending. Give us more money and this time — we promise! — it will be different.

Will it?

I know a man who works full time and makes a six-figure salary. He is to running his finances what Vivaldi is to throwing a curveball. His home is wall-to-wall “stuff.” Much of the stuff is in boxes, having never been opened and likely never will be opened.

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His credit is on the brink of ruin, but does that stop his spending binges? Hardly. Instead of paying his creditors, he turns the phone off, ignores the messages and buys more stuff.

He plays three-card monty with his finances much the way our leaders play with OUR money. He takes money from his right hand, puts it in his left hand and believes he is flush with cash.

Upon applying for a car loan, he trumpeted his chances of getting a used car despite his finances because the credit card companies are no longer looking for him, because it is the collection agencies who are now troubled with tracking him down.

His house is cluttered with a laminator, vegetable processor (still boxed), cameras, televisions and a freezer so full of meat there is not room for a bookmark. A week ago he “bought” himself a video camera to go along with two others he already had.

This man does not have an income problem, he has a disease called spending. When it catches up to him, he will be ruined financially.

So what to do with him? Give him another car loan he won’t pay? How about another credit card? Or should we take the credit card away and say, “You will not get this back until you can prove to everyone that you can live within your means.”

Now, if we could only tell Washington, D.C., the same thing. Even if we did, though, would they listen? Probably not.

When arithmetic finally wins the day — and it always does — America will face its own austerity measures. Unless, of course, we somehow could enroll our government into a spenders anonymous program. Step 1: This addiction to over-spending the people’s money will no longer stand in America.

If we don’t, we all might be saying, “I can’t believe America is no longer standing.”

Sean P. Murphy is web editor. He can be reached at smurphy@vicksburgpost.com