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April 11, 2013

FREY: Feds not immune to budget

In a recent ABC news exclusive with George Stephanopoulos, President Obama was pessimistic at best about bridging the differences between the Republicans and the Democrats on how to reduce the deficit.

He conceded that there will probably be no deal on the budget, tax and spending woes of our nation any time in the near future. The Republicans, he added, are part of the problem because they continue insisting that entitlement programs need to be overhauled.

The president also announced the following: “We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt.”

Are you kidding me? No immediate crisis?

Here are the facts. A dark and ominous financial cloud has been covering the United States of America for a long, long time. Since the Republican convention on Aug. 27, 2012, the national debt has grown by about a trillion dollars. Probably a lot more by the time this column makes it to print and sees the light of day.

Call a spade a spade. We are in dire straits.

How the president can blithely make such ignorant economical comments is beyond comprehension.

One of the greatest life lessons my father and mother taught me was how to save and budget money. Budgeting begins with depositing money in a savings account at a bank to be used at a later date when needed. My father did not spend money we did not have. My father always made sure we lived within our means. Bills were paid by the end of the month and always on time. The outcome of making good financial decisions is that my parents were never in debt.

Saving and budgeting money has also always been embraced by every church where I have ever been a member. The importance of being good stewards of money, get this, guarantees that the pastors will receive their salaries, the utility bills will be paid, and missions all around the world will be supported. Our Methodist church in Frankfort spends a great deal of time thinking about how money generously given from those in the congregation should be spent, or better yet, not spent. We had the same gig going on at First United Methodist Church in Logansport.

The federal government, on the other hand, spends a great deal of time not budgeting, all the while negligently and willy-nilly spending money it does not have. Does. Not. Have.

The situation is repugnant. Both sides of the isle are at fault. And the president needs to get his act together and stop assigning fault.

If my husband and I went about running our finances as does the federal government, our house would be taken away, there would be no money to help support our church, our children would be sent to foster care, and a host of other unthinkable things.

Meanwhile, back at the Vatican, newly elected Pope Francis, God love him, is on a mission to defend and help the poor, disadvantaged and downtrodden.

Which is exactly what all of us will be if the Republicans and Democrats do not begin working together.

During his installation Mass, Pope Francis said: “Today, amid so much darkness, we need to be the light of hope and to be the men and women who bring hope to others.”

Members of Congress and Mr. President, take heed, listen carefully, and please, turn on that light of hope and emerge from the darkness.

Alvia Lewis Frey is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at alewisfrey@aol.com.

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