A pretty, young, auburn-haired woman – mid-20s – drove down a lonely country road somewhere in Oklahoma. Appearing in her rear-view mirror, at the back windshield, were two menacing orbs of light floating amid ashen dusk. The guttural roar of a souped-up big block shook the tiny Volkswagen Rabbit as a van-load of inbred thugs lurched left and drew alongside her. A pony-tailed passenger taunted inaudibly and blew foul kisses between crude hand gestures. He pointed for her to pull over as the van repeatedly swerved dangerously close.
All across America, families are balancing their budgets and even paying off debt. Since the financial panic of 2008, personal debt has fallen as Americans tighten their belts and pay back loans. Some, unfortunately, had to declare bankruptcy because their debts got too big. Washington cannot declare bankruptcy; it must instead follow the example of millions of Americans and cut spending to live within its means.
Most state governments, likewise, have managed to balance their budgets, even during these hard times. A few states, notably California and Illinois, continue to follow the federal government’s profligate example. A few raised taxes to get their fiscal houses in order, but most simply reduced spending. Several very large states with financial challenges, like Texas and Florida, balanced their budgets without any income tax at all by reducing spending. They are showing the way.