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Time to Start Saying "No"!

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

President Obama is sounding like a grating broken record—trust that his unprecedented plan to spend our way out of this recession while hampering successful businesses with increased cap-and-trade regulations, healthcare costs and taxes is going to work! The current European Union President, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, recently called Obama’s excessive stimulus spending a "road to hell." The Congressional Budget Office reports that the president’s rosy scenario of his budget cutting the deficit in half by the end of his first term is more likely to produce a deficit that could expand over a trillion dollars a year through his term in office. America is in trouble.

Most politicians promise themselves into office, but few seem as committed to expanding the scope and cost of government as rapidly as our current leader. The fact that we are in one of the worst recessions in memory and unemployment numbers continue to grow just deepens the economic hole we are digging for ourselves!

Will our president and legislature discover the common sense and courage to start saying “NO” in time to save this country from bankruptcy? Unfortunately, far too many citizens and businesses are demanding more bailouts, more stimulus money and more pervasive entitlement programs.

Being a good politician ought to be more like being a good parent. When my son at sixteen asked if I was going to buy him a car, I replied with one word, “No.” When he said, “Everybody gets a car.” I answered, “I don’t think that’s true, but even if it was true, it will now be everybody minus one!”

Does a good parent give their children everything they want? Does a good parent keep paying the debt on their overdue credit cards? As a parent, I never expected at the time to be liked for saying “No.” We trusted that with time, we would be respected for the tough love and life lessons that we provided for our son.

The true test of a parent’s effectiveness is not continued dependence but the ability of their children to live and prosper on their own. The sooner teens learn that life doesn’t owe them the standard of living they want the sooner they realize that they’d better get busy earning it for themselves.

Life is difficult. In the great game of life, everyone, at times, has to learn to play a poor hand well. Citizens could cope responsibly if America had politicians who didn’t pretend government could afford to meet their every need.

Failing companies don’t deserve bailouts. Failing leaders don’t deserve bonuses. Citizens don’t deserve free healthcare, homes they can’t afford or extended unemployment benefits. Not when other taxpayers are forced to pay the bill.

We need a lot more tough love out of Washington and our state capitols—not more record-setting spending and bailouts. Unfortunately, we’re creating a nanny state built on entitlements instead of fiscal restraint.

The eminent business consultant, Peter Drucker, said it best, “The essence of strategy is denial.” You can’t say “Yes” to what is important without saying “No” to the things that are not essential. Unfortunately, as Ronald Reagan loved to say, "The closest thing to eternal life on earth is a government program.”

There are things that government can do best. Constitutionally, there are things that government is required to do. As citizens, we want those things done well. But end something! Unless we get a handle on our national debt, future generations will watch most of their taxes wasted on paying for the interest on the debt we are now creating. In tough times, we citizens must make the tough choices to balance our household budgets—we learn to say “No.” Let’s let President Obama and our politicians know that it’s time for them to do the same thing.

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