Thursday, March 10, 2011

Advice Column

I’m never sure whether to take advice columns seriously. I do read them however, but mostly for the entertainment value. Without ever leaving my home I can get advice and answers on baking, car repair, manners/etiquette, finance, education/career, home maintenance, technology, pets, medical and even what books to read, movies to watch and music to listen to.

Sometimes I wonder, though, if the questions are genuine or just made up by the writer of the column. I would never do that (except for today). In my life I have received advice from some great uncles, and a few pretty good ones. So today I would like to introduce a new feature, “Dear Uncle Sam.” It is only scheduled to run this once, but the way things are going there is bound to be material for more letters.

Dear Uncle Sam: I am 7 old with money problems. Yesterday I asked my dad for some money so I could go the mall with my friends. I get an allowance of $10 a week and that isn’t enough to buy everything I want. My dad told me that money doesn’t grow on trees. Is he right?
Jimmy H., Independence, Missouri

Dear Jimmy: Thanks for writing. Yes, you’re dad is right, money does not grow on trees; we make it ourselves on special machines. Here in Washington, our nation’s capital, when we need more we just make more. I wish you could do the same, but that would be illegal. If you study hard in school, Jimmy, maybe someday you can grow up to be President and make money the old-fashioned way: print it.

Dear Uncle Sam: My wife and I are having trouble sticking to a monthly budget. We always seem to spend more than we make. I know from reading the papers and watching the news that the federal government sets a budget every year. I told my wife that if Uncle Sam can balance his budget, then so can we. Please tell me how you do it, or is it a secret? I am looking forward to your answer.
Sullivan R., Bridgeport, Connecticut

Dear Sullivan: First of all, where are you getting your information – the Internet? I’ve got news for you – the government doesn’t stick to its budget. That would be silly. We know every year that we won’t have enough money – that’s why we get to ask for more from you, the taxpayer, and if that isn’t enough, we just borrow more. Don’t worry about spending more than you make – it’s the American way. Remember to file your taxes on April 15th; I’ve got bills to pay.

Dear Uncle Sam: It’s been many years since I was in school, but I seem to remember that the Constitution balanced the power between three branches of government: The legislative makes the laws, the executive enforces the laws and the judicial branch interprets the laws. But lately the whole works seems out of whack. I watch legislators run and hide instead of fulfilling their elected duty, the executive branch ignores laws they don’t agree with, and judges will often make laws from the bench to suit their own agenda. As the musical group Bread sang in the 70’s, “It’s sad to say we’ve lost the way. This isn’t what the government.”
Elizabeth T., Liberty, West Virginia

Dear Elizabeth: Since you seem to have a weak understanding on the founding of this country may I point out that Benjamin Franklin (one of our founding fathers/mothers) said, "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do." You’re forgetting that the Constitution is a living, breathing document that can grow and evolve into anything we want so that we can justify our actions. By the way, it may be time to take a look at your musical tastes. Does your bread have mold on it?

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