In response to my interview with Ben Stein, I received this e-mail from M. Strumilia, Erie, Pennsylvania:

"You just about accused Ben Stein of being a communist... it saddens me deeply to think that your bottom line is money. When a country becomes more concerned with money than common values, it's a country no longer worth fighting for."

Mr. Strumila, if you find common values in a government that can't rein in spending, that can't be accountable to the very people who elect it, that can't keep within its means, like the people who support it... then you, sir, are the one with the twisted values.

We don't have the option of demanding our boss give us extra pay if we can't pay our bills. The government does.

We don't have the arrogance to assume we can't meet our obligations, we find someone else to meet our obligations. The government does.

And we don't have the simple luxury of printing paychecks we don't have for things we don't need. The government does.

No, what's twisted in this notion of doing something for the good of the country, is whose good we're doing it for: The soldiers my good friend Ben Stein wants to help, or the lifeless, clueless bureaucracies we'll only end up helping more.

Feeding a beast doesn't make the beast better — only more hungry.

Putting the beast on a diet is the answer — giving him more food is not.

Only in America can we reward a government that fails us with more money from us. This isn't a matter of taxing our wallets, but taxing our common sense.

Ben's right: cutting spending is hard, but raising taxes is easy — too easy.

It's common sense, Mr. Strumila, to expect accountability from our government. It's part of our values to demand it.

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