To the editor:
It was St. Patrick's Day and my Democrat friend and I were having a drink together. He seemed in a good mood. "Your Republican friends in Congress are about to trip over their feet again," he said.
"How is that?"
"Well, there's going to be another debate soon on the debt level and the possibility of a government default and your Republicans will surely try to stop increasing the ceiling, which would lead to a default and everybody knows that would ruin the economy. Your friends will get killed in the polls again and also in 2014."
I looked at him. "Do you want me to tell you a story," I asked.
"Sure, go ahead."
"There's this guy and he's gambling in the casino. He's been gambling on house money and been losing badly. He's into the casino for serious money. His brother comes in, finds him, and says, 'Look, you've got to quit. You can't go on like this." And the guy says, "No, I know I'm going to hit a winning streak here. If I quit now, I'll have to come up with the casino's money. There's no way I can do that. You know the kind of guys that run these places. What do you think they'll do to me?"
And his brother says, "What do you think they'll do to you after you keeping doing this and double your tab with them?"
And my friend said, "What does that have to do with the price of eggs?"
I put my drink down. "This country is like the guy in the casino and the Republicans are like the guy's brother. That money has to be paid back, and when it does, a lot of people are going to have to learn to live within their means from now on. The question is, do we begin learning that lesson now, or keep living it up now so that the pain is harder later?"
"You're very easy with other people's lives. You've got money, so it won't hurt you, but other people will really suffer."
"Yeah, I've got money," I answered, "but it's in the market. The market would collapse and I wouldn't have much left. I'd be in the soup, too. But, somehow I'd like to see if people can learn to live without the government. I've told my kids that, as far as the future goes, they shouldn't count on anything from the government - no Social Security, no Medicare, no nothing. They should start saving big-time, right now, for their future."
"I'm not as pessimistic as you are," he said.
"Well then, you'll buy the next round, won't you?"