Hot potato, couch potato
Imagine if you will, the following scenario. Joe Mainer is in the process of trying to support a family. Joe and his wife have three dependents living at home, one healthy child, one with a debilitating handicap and Joe’s crippled mother, who is confined to a wheelchair. Despite some financial assistance, the family’s budget is stretched to the maximum with very little room for the unexpected. I would daresay that this scenario is not fiction for some who read this column.
But the unexpected does happen. Joe’s 18-year-old son inexplicably drops out of college and moves back home. Joe Jr. now spends his days on the couch eating, watching TV and railing against the establishment that doesn’t “understand” him. Mom and Dad love their son. Stung by his criticism that their dysfunctional parenting has led him to his emotionally crippled state, they try to do his every bidding to “help” him. But his demands begin to pull funds away from the dependents, which have life threatening needs.
Mr. and Mrs. Mainer are in full crises mode. In desperation, they use their credit card to bridge the financial gap. Soon the payments are due. They don’t have the money and, with mortgage payments and healthcare bills pending or in arrears, they now face a calamity of their own making. Their friends and neighbors are willing to make a portion of the payments, but the Mainers have to come up with the balance with money they don’t have. Joe Sr. is faced with a tough decision. He now can better understand the tough parenting of his parents.
Joe the elder’s parents didn’t care if they were called dysfunctional. They didn’t care whether their children liked them or not. Their primary goal in parenting Joe was that he be a responsible hardworking adult. Now the father, Joe must make a very, very difficult decision.
Joe Sr. orders his son out of the house. He demands that his son get his own job and support himself. The father understands that, if the healthy adult son isn’t kicked out of the nest, he risks losing the whole nest.
The Governor of Maine faces this very situation with this great State. For over forty years, Maine’s operating budgets were stretched very thin. Instead of balancing the budgets, Democrats enabled the debt increasing tactics of the left by creating more pathways to entitlements for all who wished to indulge. Soon droves of seekers came to bathe in Maine’s entitlement utopia.
The payments have come due. The Governor is asking the couch potatoes to get off the couch and work before the whole system comes crashing down. If it does, only the most vulnerable will lose. The couch potatoes will simply move to a different couch.
As expected, the Democrats are in full uproar as Governor LePage works to balance the books. These obstructionists have a vested interest in keeping things in crisis mode. A crisis usually spawns another government bureaucracy. So they are in full attack and no dishonesty is too low.
The Governor wants all healthy childless adults off the dole, from middle aged and no lower than 19. But Democrats now have redefined middle-aged as “elders” and children as 19-20 year olds. The State has no money but Democrats rant that if we implement reform we will lose Federal matching funds, which make up 65% of the costs. It seems the left is comfortable with defaulting on 35% of the DHHS budget. There is no money to cover the extravagant entitlement spending. We must stay within our means if we want to continue to protect our State’s most vulnerable. We must get the couch potatoes out of the nest if we want to save the nest. Let’s Set Maine Free!
Excellent column,Andy. You have summed up the situation clearly with a most understandable and common example.
I have written a short message to all on the Appropriations Committee recognizing that they have a tough decision to make but hoping they will look at the big picture ,thus saving Maine!
Rose Marie Russell