If someone were to ring your doorbell then, when you came to the door to inquire what they wanted, lecture that you aren't doing enough to help the poor, the elderly, the sick and even the young, how would you react?
You might politely inform your accuser that you have a mortgage, car payments, credit card debt, rising utility bills and even your own health insurance premiums to pay. "I wish I could do more, but I simply can't," you might respond.
Or you might tell your visitor to get the heck off your property before you decide the furiously barking dog on whose collar your hand rests had the right idea in the first place.
What if the person was a member of Congress, a governor or even the president of the United States? And what if they as a group were telling you they've decided to be your social conscience, are running up bills in your name - and there's nothing you can do about it?
Well, that happens to be the case. Politics in the United States has become the art not of compromise, not of the possible, but of attempting to please all of the people all of the time by spending the nation - and us as individuals and families - into the poorhouse.
Now, here's the thing: Our elected leaders in Washington know that's what is happening. Yet, as some of them demonstrated last week during the Democrat Party's national convention in Charlotte, N.C., they want to spend more, not less, on social programs.
Among those worried about the future is U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. On Monday, he's hosting a "fiscal summit" in Charleston. It begins at 9 a.m. and will be held at the state Culture Center (1900 Kanawha Blvd. East).
Manchin has persuaded a couple of very important people to participate in the event. They are former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. The two co-chaired what popularly has become known as the national debt commission.
The Bowles-Simpson panel recommended ways of reducing the national debt and keeping important programs such as Social Security and Medicare solvent. Their plan promptly was placed on a shelf in Washington,D.C., for the simple reason that it will require some sacrifice and changing some "entitlement" programs with which tens of millions of Americans have become comfortable.
In short, the plan went nowhere because it is politically incorrect. But folks, something has to be done, as Manchin, Bowles and Simpson recognize.
Our national debt is $16 trillion. That's more than $50,000 for every American man, woman and child.
Less than 12 years ago, the debt was just $5.7 trillion. It increased by $4.9 trillion during former President George W. Bush's term - but the spending spree is accelerating. It has taken current President Barack Obama's administration just three and one-half years to add $5.4 trillion to the debt.
According to the most recent predictions, Social Security will become insolvent in 2033. Medicare's largest fund dips into the red by 2024.
Don't try this kind of irresponsible spending at home. If you do, the bank will foreclose on you and you'll be out of your home.
What on earth makes us think we can do as a nation what we could never get away with as individuals?
Myer can be reached at: Myer@news-register.net.