No. 947



Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said, “The problem with socialism is that pretty soon you run out of other people’s money.” Apparently what Margaret Thatcher failed to consider is that “pretty soon” becomes decades, when you can borrow or print it.
Here in our country the lion’s share of our federal budget goes for the entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. When it comes to the balance or the rest of our budget (we call this discretionary spending), it has been my observation that our Federal Treasury has become little more than a piggy bank to be used at the “discretion” of those in positions of power, with little or no accountability.
Furthermore, after months or even years have passed and it comes to light that these individuals have misused or abused their power, no one is held accountable. Sure, a few people have been transferred to other positions in the government and a few others have resigned or retired with full retirement benefits, but I cannot think of anyone who has been “fired” and held accountable for abusing the system, can you? For me it would be much easier, and safer, to talk in my column about achieving personal success, setting goals, developing a winning attitude and being of service to our fellow man -- all very important topics -- but there comes a time when we must speak up or be run out of town.
Our government, like every other successful enterprise, comes down to leadership, and when you don’t have it, the whole organization suffers. In the case of our federal government, which is all of us, we all suffer. Margaret Thatcher was right. In our case we ran out of other people’s money a long time ago; this is why we have a national debt of more than $17 trillion. When we see our public servants wasting our money and not being held accountable, every tax-paying American should speak up. If we don’t, some day it will be too late.
Certainly I could call names here and give many personal examples, but it would accomplish virtually nothing, because most of it is being reported in the news every day, every week and every month. It should also be noted that those on the receiving end of lavish spending don’t care, because the cash register is ringing up sales for them. When a high-ranking government official books a conference or seminar at a swanky resort, do you think the manager objects to getting the business? Of course the answer is “no,” and it’s the same for the vendors and suppliers who also get a piece of the pie.
This is the same principle for those on the dole for other government handouts. Do not misunderstand what I am saying here. No one I know objects to taking care of the truly needy -- that is the American way -- but those who are scamming or abusing the system must also be held accountable. I have always believed if we make the penalties strong enough, and then enforce the law, we can cut down on a lot of that.
Here are a couple of questions that I would invite you to ponder with me for the next several days. Has our U.S. Treasury become a piggy bank for those in power? Is it too much to ask for the rest of the American taxpayers to hold them accountable? Henry Clay once said, “Government is a trust, and the offices of the government are trustees and both the trust and trustees are created for the benefit of the people.”
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)