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home : insight & opinion : guest columns
September 25, 2017

7/13/2017 10:30:00 AM
Fiscal saga lesson: We're in this together
For the Daily News

I have a checkbook. It is not evil, nor is the money it calls out of the bank for me when I ask it to. My bank has some rules about its use that I sometimes find inconvenient, but I am not a child and understand them well enough to know why they are necessary. I can't write a check for more money than I have in the bank.

We all understand how this works. But this is entirely different from how our state and federal governments handle money, and it's a difference that many don't seem to grasp.

It is possible to cut back at home - give up your phone, eat ramen noodles, live like a hermit and adjust to having less money in the bank. But politicians who suggests the same measures will solve governmental problems are not only wrong, they are malicious. We the people have obligations that must be met, regardless of whether we personally want something done or not. I don't need to name them all, but our representatives have democratically voted to take them on, and we can't veto them just by voting for irresponsible candidates who don't get how this works.

We've tried that here in Illinois, and it's not worked.

In the back of my checkbook is a ledger showing me how much money I have, where I've spent what money I had, and how much I have left to spend. I can't just ignore it, or think if I just stop writing checks all will be well. I have to put money in for this to work. I must make deposits. If I were a government, these deposits would be called "taxes."

Without taxes - without income - financial obligations are not paid for. They don't go away; they increase. If I don't pay my credit-card bills, they add interest and I owe more.

We owe our veterans for their service, our children an education, and ourselves a state we can be proud of. It costs money. Everything worth having does. If you want to spend less, want our state to spend less; then lessen our obligations.

Attacking taxes as an evil is foolish; they are just deposits into our community fund. We're in this together, lets work at spending less if that's what we need to do, not cripple our state again by pretending just hiding our checkbook will make it go away.

That's what we did when we went without a budget. I'm glad that's over.

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