Monday, March 2, 2009

Run your government like your home...

I just did my afternoon check of the Journal-Sentinel's website and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed below 7,000 this afternoon for the first time since 1997. To refresh everyone's memory, in October 2007 the Dow reached it's all-time record high of 14,087 amid beliefs that the American economy would continue its fast-paced expansion. What a difference 16 months can make. I don't know about you, but my wife and I won't even look at our retirement accounts anymore. Why bother?

Families across Wisconsin and the country are having this same exact conversation. What lessons do you take away from the situation we're in? How do you protect the financial stability of your family in light of the wild fluctuations we see in every aspect of the global economy? With college tuition to plan for and normal, run-of-the-mill expenses, this is just one of those moments that requires careful, thoughtful discussion about how to move forward. For the Kanavas family, that means spending less and planning better. It means finding recipes to take advantage of leftovers. It means buying the store brand and looking for the best prices at the gas pump. It means cutting back on big purchases, but in extreme cases waiting for them to go on sale before we pay cash to buy (I want to see dust build up on my credit card).

That's the conversation I'm having as a husband and father.

As a member of the Wisconsin Legislature, that's the same conversation I want to be having about state government. My friends in the Democratic Party like to suggest that Republicans sound like a broken record because we keep arguing that tax cuts work. But what they miss is that our preoccupation with scaling back government spending and working to eliminate public debt is simply a page out of the Kanavas family playbook. We share it with thousands of families across Wisconsin and it's about time state government joins us.

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