Friday, January 17, 2014

The US Budget–Where Hope and Reality Collide

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

Imagine that you are having this dream.

You are seated at a table and then blindfolded.

In your hand is placed a stamp with your signature on it so that you can stamp your name onto things without having to see them.

A group of people unknown to you then files into the room, each representing his or her personal interests.

Some of these interests will generate revenue for you.

Some of these interests will take money from you.

The number of people, their relationship to you (money generator or money extractor) and the scale of their opportunity is unknown.

You stamp every piece of paper they put in front of you, vowing to honor each “contract” without understanding its potential, good or bad.

One year later, someone shines a bright light in your face and demands that you answer why you have just condemned your family and others to financial disaster because you never took the time to understand what you were signing.

You protest vehemently, claiming that you were too busy to be bothered with the details and therefore you agreed to sign things sight unseen with the hope that everything “would just work out”.

As your inquisitors mock and deride such weak-minded, short sighted thinking, you suddenly wake up and realize what a stupid dream this is.  You know that you would never do what you did in your dream for fear of the risk that you might create for yourself and your family.

However, that is what happened when the 1.1 trillion dollar budget, described in more than 1580 pages, was approved by Congress this week.

When asked who had read the lengthy, extremely complex piece of legislation before agreeing to it, Democrat Congressman Earl Blumenauer laughed and said “No one did”.

This has occurred before for large, complex legislation including the Affordable Care Act, the Patriot Act and others.   These bills defy the ability for most human beings to understand and are often delivered just in time to be signed.  Yes it is true that bits and pieces are “shopped around” but that means nothing until seen from the context of the whole document and yet people sign them into law in ignorance of their content or their impact.

Would your attorney allow you to sign a 10 page document if you professed to having read a paragraph on page 3 and a couple of paragraphs on page 8?

I didn’t think so.

I would like to think that you would take more care before signing anything that defined the future of you, your family and your community, whether that future is abundance-filled or fraught with risk.

And if that’s the case, why wouldn’t you hold your political representative to the same standard since what they are signing has the same potential impact?

That’s why this not only feels like a bad dream but it has the potential to turn into a nightmare.

Or has it turned into one already and we’re unable to awaken from it?

Congressman Blumenauer thinks this is funny.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,


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