Earlier today I was looking through my Facebook page while waiting on one of my kids and I saw a friend had posted the following: “The treasury secretary has now asked Congress to raise the debt limit for borrowing more money as soon as possible. The secretary of the treasury said if Congress doesn’t act soon, the government will have to work with only the money it has now. You know, like the rest of us do.” — Jay Leno
I laughed at the Jay Leno joke but then I thought about how serious this issue really is. Trying to balance my farm budget each year is a lot like trying to balance any family or business budget. A budget is a budget, some budgets just have more numbers than others but the end goal is always to have more income than expenses.
I try to predict what my income will be and then I try to predict my expenses. If my expenses are higher than my income, I look for places to trim or cut expenses. Is this practice of cutting or trimming fun? Not at all, it really stinks. And it’s really hard to determine what to cut. But guess what? I have to do it because if I don’t my family and farm will suffer.
The tough budget decisions I have to make aren’t any different than those tough decisions a mom/wife living in Houston makes. We both have to decide what a want is and what a need is. We both have to decide what we can live without and what we can make due with until better times come. The only difference between me and a mom/wife in Houston is that I have to do this for my farm too, not just my family. Any cut I make has an impact on my farm, I have to weigh the consequences the decision will have on my farm and determine if it’s worth it. My farm impacts more than my family, my farm impacts many families because one farmer feeds 155 people. This is a responsibility my family takes very seriously, we are proud to have this responsibility and we don’t want to let anyone down.
Many American’s are just like me, we don’t have the option of not balancing our budget. We don’t have a money machine in the closet that we can pull out to make ends meet. We have to live within our means or we will lose our homes, cars, etc. It’s not fun, it’s stressful and it hurts…..but we do it. I understand the tough decisions that are before Congress regarding our budget, and so do many other moms, dads, wives, husbands, business owners, etc. But just like our budgets, Congress needs to balance the budget and make the cuts necessary to prevent bigger problems down the road.
My son summed it up pretty well a few nights ago when we were talking about the farm. He and I were discussing feed costs and farm payments and bank loans. I explained to him that dad and I borrowed money from the bank to buy our farm and that we made payments to the bank for the money we borrowed. I told him our goal was to pay the farm off before we….and before I could finish the sentence he said, “THAT’S GOOD BECAUSE I’M NOT PAYING YOUR BILLS FOR YOU MOM. I LOVE YOU AND DAD BUT I DON’T WANT TO PAY YOUR BILLS FOR YOU WHEN I GROW UP. I WANT TO SPEND MY MONEY ON MY FARM AND MY ANIMALS, NOT YOUR FARM AND ANIMALS AND LOANS.” This is a message Congress needs to hear, our kids don’t want to pay off our debts and they don’t deserve to be given our debts. It’s time for Congress to make the tough decisions we all have to make; it’s time to live within our means. Millions of families have to do this every day, our government needs to live by the same standards.