Saturday, December 7, 2013

Guest Post. Economics: Not Rocket Science

Economics: Not Rocket Science
Colonel Donald J. Myers USMC (Ret)
When I listen to high ranking individuals talk about the economy, I wonder where they have been or have been educated during their formative years. I also wonder how they look at their own budgets if they have such little understanding about money and how to best use it. I suspect that the bottom line is that the money that they throw at possible problems is not their money and as a result, there is little accountability or concern.

Our country is unlike any other in that the ability of becoming unbelievably rich remains viable. Contrary to what far too many profess, hard work and innovation pays great dividends in this country. The greatest percentage of the rich in this country became rich because of the work that they did. They created a product or program that a huge number of people wanted and were willing to pay for it.

The richest group of people in this country are the senior citizens. Most of them never made a huge salary, but they always saved and did not spend on objects that they could not afford. They lived on their income and avoided going into debt except to buy a home. Their cars were for transportation and not show. In most cases, the wife cooked and stayed at home to raise the children. The latest senior citizens had the wives working, but much of the other aspects of the middle class remained true. Their parents or older siblings showed the way.

Schools taught the basics of economics and the examples on earlier TV portrayed the example of living within ones means. Some may say that that was not real life, but it worked. I understand that there is a percentage of the senior citizens who truly are needy and require assistance, but that is a small percentage compared to the entire population of seniors. Unfortunately, some aspects of the media attempt to portray senior citizens as a whole who are nearly destitute. That is utterly false.

Our government has grown well beyond what is necessary to effectively operate. There is a proposal now to double the federal tax on gasoline because it has not been raised in 20 years. The congressman proposing this says that it is needed to improve the highways and bridges throughout the country. That increase will bring in an additional $20 billion. When one looks at the amount of taxes that already are collected such as gas taxes, taxes on oil companies, tolls, state and local taxes, it amounts to well over a hundred billion dollars. Where has that money gone?

When we look at various welfare benefits, we learn that it is controlled by numerous federal agencies with absolutely no coordination among them. Trying to reduce this piggy bank is nearly impossible because so many agencies are involved and are unwilling to reduce their expenditures. 

The typical American family understands economics. The head of the household knows that spending more money than one earns will cause significant difficulties in the future. Unexpected expenses such as the air conditioning dying demands that expenses in other areas such as entertainment or dining out be curtailed for a period of time. That is not great, but that also is life. We need to teach our congress and president this basic fact.


Donald J. Myers a retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, is a regular columnist for Hernando Today. He lives in Spring Hill and can be contacted at

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