The Berks-Mont News (

Wanted: Character in the leadership of the US - Part II

By Jeff Hall, Guest Columnist

Friday, October 5, 2012

Part two in a short series
Last week I discussed ‘One Who is God Fearing’ and ‘Integrity’. This week I focus on ‘Truthfulness’ and being ‘Fiscally Responsible’
Being truthful is of utmost importance in all aspects of life and is certainly a prerequisite for any politician whom we may elect! Each of us face whether or not we are going to be truthful on a daily basis. Once we are caught being untruthful, our credibility drops to zero (think of someone in court on the witness stand). I don’t know if President Nixon was behind the Watergate break-in from the beginning or not. However, if he was not, just think how much better off he would have been by telling the truth and not covering up. One little lie turned into an avalanche of lies which cost him the office of President and he left in disgrace.
Every bill sponsored by a politician and every action for that matter should be scrutinized. To me, that still remains in the truth arena. Politicians have sponsored bills to enrich themselves, their constituents and simply to insure re-election. Buying votes for passage of a bill is many times the norm. Groups of voters have been singled out so legislation can be passed that would insure their vote. People make a living lobbying trying to gain favor with politicians for some group they represent.
The truth must be out there somewhere. The media coverage we have today is never ending. However, how far can it be trusted? Wealthy people many times control various outlets of the media. Conservatives “know” the liberal media is stacking the deck against them. At the same time, liberals complain about other sources that are “far to the right”. Certainly we can know who is telling the truth by fact checking on a website, but wait - now there are rumors that these fact checking sites are controlled by one side or the other. It reminds me of the movie several years ago of a media mogul who was able to start a major war by controlling and providing false information about what each of the countries eventually to become involved were doing.
How do we find the truth and select the politician who is most truthful and possesses other characteristics we have talked about? Educate yourself. Become as informed as possible. Check the background of whom you are going to vote for. What has he/she said/done in the past and what can you predict he/she will do in the future? Sandwich these actions on both ends with prayer!
Fiscally Responsible
Two major aspects of being fiscally responsible are a balanced budget (revenues equals expenditures) and spending wisely (not just spending additional revenues because they are available). When my wife and I were first married, we were on a tight budget because I was still in college and then in the Service during the Vietnam era. We knew how much income we would make during the month. From the income, we would deduct our fixed expenses and any money going toward savings. The remaining funds would be put into envelopes marked for food, entertainment, clothes, etc. Yes, we varied sometimes and took some funds from one envelope and put it into another when needed but the plan worked pretty well. Right, the process sounds pretty archaic. However, isn’t that what our government is supposed to be doing on a gigantic level! Why does the same system not work for our government? Let’s just look at a couple of the reasons. First, the money doesn’t belong to the politicians. It is so much easier to spend someone else’s money than your own. During my working career, when eating out on the company tab, I tried to stay at the middle priced items on the menu or below. I also worked with people who decided since it was the company’s money they would order surf and turf for their meal. Second, there is no “pain” for the politician if the bills are not paid on time and interest is required to be paid on the debt. There are millions of United States workers who can “foot the bill” of debt interest through their taxes.
The national debt is over 16 trillion dollars and rising daily. Since it’s hard to visualize this amount of money, let’s use a word picture (all figures are approximate). If we loaded 50,000 pounds of $100 bills in trailers that were 53 feet long and parked the trailers (no tractors used) front to back, the line of trailers would continue for 2.9 miles.
Of course not one person would give up what he is “entitled” to in order to improve our debt situation. This is not true! I have a friend who was an officer in the Korean and Vietnam Wars who wrote to his political representatives to tell them we as a country must get our debt under control. This should start from the top down (the President to the individual worker), where all should give up a stated percentage of their benefits from the government. However, in doing so, the government would have to decrease its spending to a predetermined amount calculated as a function of the amount of benefits given up by each individual. As you may have imagined, my friend was not overwhelmed by responses. He received not one response! I know, this partial solution sounds like “pie in the sky” and maybe even naïve. But it sure is a step in the right direction, especially considering the financial quagmire the United States is in.
I know it’s a trite comment, but, “just think what our children and grandchildren will be facing” is so true!
Jeff Hall has lived in Delaware and Chester counties most of his life, the last four years in Honey Brook. He worked for a large retail food chain in the Risk Management function and retired from a position of Property Insurance Broker from a consulting firm. He is a Born-again Christian who enjoys reading and writing, and is concerned with the direction the country is headed.