When we see our honorable representatives in government spending all our money with no way to get it back, we tend to scream, pull our hair out, and want to break or hit inanimate objects. But, this is the exact way we should not act. We have to be understanding, and sympathize with our representatives, because the fact is that they have a problem. Our representatives have a disease, and they just cannot help it. Some experts claim that somewhere between 10%-15% suffer from this disease, but I believe that the percentage is closer to 75%-85% when it comes to our members of government. What we have to do is offer them help. We have to reach out and give them a way to beat this disease. This is why I support an effort to set up rehabilitation centers for government officials. This of course can only occur after they have been forced out of office due to their incompetence. Because that is what is has to be….an addiction. WebMD.com states the symptoms of spending/shopping addiction as being:
• Spending over budget
• Compulsive Buying
• It’s a chronic problem
• Hiding the problem
• A viscous circle
• Impaired relationships
• Clear Consequences
• Shopping or spending money as a result of feeling angry, depressed, anxious, or lonely
• Having arguments with others about one’s shopping habits
• Feeling lost without credit cards — actually going into withdrawal without them
• Buying items on credit, rather than with cash
• Describing a rush or a feeling of euphoria with spending
• Feeling guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed after a spending spree
• Lying about how much money was spent. For instance, owning up to buying something, but lying about how much it actually cost
• Thinking obsessively about money
• Spending a lot of time juggling accounts or bills to accommodate spending
Now the thing to remember is that people who have this disease, only have to exhibit a few of these symptoms in order for it to be confirmed. Let us go through the ones they seem to suffer from, and you will see that they definitely suffer from this condition.
Spending over Budget: this is an obvious one, that can be proven by a single number (albeit a 14 figure number) that is the national debt: $12,546,372,001,879.73 (as of 3/9/10)
Compulsive Buying: Pork Amendments. When a bill comes to the House or Senate, it may be completely legitimate. But due to the disease, our poor congressmen and women cannot defeat the “compulsion” to attach amendments onto the bill for pork barrel projects, such as the “Bridge to Nowhere” or other billions upon billions of dollars on unnecessary projects. This could also apply for the representatives’ compulsion to spend money on everything that comes to their attention.
It’s a Chronic Problem: For decades our debt has been adding up, and not since the Clinton years under the Republican Congress has there been a balanced budget. Spending increased significantly since and the recent Congress and President have increased budget spending and the deficit by seemingly mythical numbers, with no signs of stopping.
Hiding the Problem: Our representatives know they have a problem, and so they try to marginalize or completely hide the spending. For example, I will use the current healthcare debate. With the announcement of each new proposed bill costing between 800-900 billion dollars that will be no cost to the public, but then offer no real numbers for how they will account for the aforementioned spending. Also, there was the attempt to hide some parts of the bills in other bills to hide the true cost.
A Vicious Circle: It is sad to say that the massive amount of debt we have has been answered by more massive spending “in order to stop the debt.” When the economy began to collapse in late 2008-present, the answer to the problem has been to spend more money to solve the problem. This has only added to our debt, causing talk of another stimulus package that will put us yet even further into debt. This is the vicious cycle.
Impaired Relationships: Many of the relationships of our government have been hurt by their addiction. On the domestic level, the constituents have all but lost respect for our representatives. They are ignoring the voices of these constituents, and claiming they have superior knowledge in order to allow for their spending habits. This has caused a major rift between the constituents and their representatives. On an international level, some of the strongest allies of our government have also expressed concern over the massive spending. Our representatives ignore these concerns and continue to feed the addiction, in turn hurting foreign relationships. They also lose a lot of once hard-earned respect our nation once had amongst foreign powers.
Clear Consequences: This national debt has clear consequences. Utter failure. The overspending of our representatives will destroy our country, unless they can be cured and drastically change the direction of the debt in this country.
The next three points in the above list do not completely apply (although the arguments over spending habits is arguable). So on to the next on the list….
Buying Items on Credit, Rather than with Cash: Apparently that is what the Chinese are for…..
Describing a Rush or a Feeling of Euphoria While Spending: The spenders always smile when the President signs that spending into effect, I mean, Nancy Pelosi always has that euphoric look and forced smile on her face.
Our representatives show no remorse or guilt for spending the money that they are. Therefore, this symptom is not present.
Lying About How Much Money was Spent: see Hiding the Problem. Also, putting a price tag on a bill that turns out costing much more when put into effect.
As you can see our representatives exhibit at least 10/16 of these symptoms. That is more than enough to point to a spending addiction, which is a disease that we must cure. It also seems to be infectious, as many representatives who enter into the government without this addiction, eventually become addicted to the spending. We must cleanse the system of these spending addicted men and women and put them where they belong…rehab.