On Tuesday night, Tom Brokaw asked a question that I immediately wished I was there to answer instead of either of the candidates. No, it wasn’t the question of what I didn’t know—for that I think I would have gone into full Donald Rumsfeld mode and waxed eloquent about what we know, what we don’t know, what we know we don’t know and what we don’t know we don’t know.
No, the question that I wished I could have answered was the one from the woman that asked what the candidates, as President, would ask us to sacrifice.
Sen. Obama started talking conservation—or something about new energy. Sen. McCain talked about programs that would be cut because of his spending freeze.
What I would have said? I would have said something like this:
I think, [insert woman’s name here], that this is a trying time. But like any trying time there are things that we can learn through them—things that can make us stronger.
For the past few years, the American people have made the decision to live their lives on tomorrow’s dollar. We have mortgaged more than we can afford. We have rolled one car loan into the next. We have maxed out credit cards and have picked up new ones to move the balance. When that didn’t work, we picked up home improvement loans to consolidate the loans.
We are in this problem because we don’t know how to only spend today’s money—how to say “no.” And government is the biggest offender. We take your money and waste it on projects to get other’s elected. We pay things in triplicate, and we waste money on regular items at high prices.
I ask the American people to go into their wallets, take out those credit cards and cut them up. I call everyone to live based on today’s money, to pay off their debt, and to build an emergency fund.
To this end, the federal government is also going to go on a diet. Effective immediately, I will push for a review of every program. If we cannot justify it, I will press Congress to remove it. If they don’t want to, I won’t sign anything. They’ll have to override my veto.
Let’s get rid of our deficit. Let’s only spend what we make. Let’s get those people that work for credit card companies new jobs, and teach our kids how to live within our means.
You, [insert woman’s name], know what the value of money is. It’s time that we learn your lesson and be inspired by your life, instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses.
By that time, Tom would probably cut me off as I would have been looking into the camera, not at the lights.
What do you think?