Good Fortune Doesn't Make You God

I'll never forget when I was a kid and my dad was still alive, he'd tell me, "Neil, stay humble, in your case, it'll come in handy."

Years later when I thought I was starting to become a big deal, he'd add: "A nation looking to my Neily boy for financial advice! Did you ever show 'em your grades?"

We always shared a good laugh at that, but his point over the years was serious and wise: Good fortune doesn't make you God; so don't act like it.

I got to thinking of my dad yesterday while I was in Washington, reporting a day after California voters humbled their "Terminator" governor and terminated his budget initiatives.

At least a chastened Arnold said afterwards he heard them. I wondered whether Washington did, arrogantly piling on the very reckless spending so soundly rejected by angry voters in our largest state.

Not crazy voters. Not so-called silly "tea party" voters; nearly 7-out-of-10 voters who revolted against not only runaway spending but runaway conceit.

The conceit of leaders convinced they knew best, but didn't.

The conceit of legislators equally convinced we'd embrace their spending, but never deign the possibility we wouldn't.

The cocksure going off half-cocked — again.

That's what arrogant people do: They ignore other people. They dismiss other people. They laugh at other people. And in Washington, they continue undeterred spending the money of other people.

You see, arrogant people don't ask, don't tell, just spend. Clueless not only to tea parties they dismiss, but tea leaves they ignore.

I think my dad was right: Nothing stinks more than thinking you don't. Well Washington, you do. And Washington, you're stinking up the country thinking you don't. So take a whiff. Or I'm warning ya, take a hike.

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