Did I ever tell you the allowance story when I was 12-years-old? I didn't? Well, pull up a chair.
My father had just gotten this big promotion at work. I mean big. We were going to move half a country away. Neat stuff. So my manipulative little mind starts thinking — this is the perfect time to ask my father for an increase in my allowance. I can remember what I said as if it was yesterday:
"Dad, when we get this new house, Mom says it's going to be bigger and have a bigger yard. That means more for me to mow. Don't you think I should get more?"
Or something like that.
Wouldn't you know, he laughed and said, "Neil, you're right. And as soon as we move and I find we do indeed have a bigger yard and you do indeed have to mow it, I'll give you that extra allowance."
We did. I did. All was well. End of story.
If I say so myself, I was absolutely brilliant. Seizing on a perfect opportunity when old Dad was a little more flush to get my piece of the pie. Congress is no different and that's what worries me.
All of a sudden we have this understandable national tragedy and equally understandable, we're spending a lot of money to deal with it.
$40 billion for a relief package.
$15 billion to help the airlines.
$5 billion to combat terrorism.
Another half-billion for air marshals.
Now comes talk of another $100 billion for everything from worker training programs to highway repair.
All well and good. But is anyone keeping track of all this spending?
Some things we "need" to do. But everything we're considering we don't "have" to do. Some are taking advantage of a situation to get what they want and fast — exploiting what they can when they can. Just like I did when I was a kid.
The only difference is, back then, I was a kid and it was my dad keeping his eye on the financial ball. I'm not as confident about the guys doing the same this go-round.
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