Dora the Explorer in Search of a Budget Solution (Author Jennifer DeJournett)
Every day in my house, Dora the Explore is a staple. Dora and her monkey pal (Boots) are a resourceful team. She carries a backpack full of her tools, which can keep her on her mission. Every day, she and Boots must contend with Swiper, who she, boots and the audience have to remind daily, “Swiper, NO Swiping”
I realized today’s Dora episode was analogous to the Minnesota and US Economy and resolving the budget crisis. In this episode, Dora was temporarily rerouted to “Magicland”. She had with her a trusty map that outlined the budget. Swiper was determined to make her overspend and she would not be fooled.
All fun aside, we are in tough economic times. Our economy cannot support continued government spending at this rate.
Any political figure that tries to say they can resolve the budget deficit by “taxing the rich” or taxing your neighbor instead of you is not being honest. That political figure is like Swiper. Our local and national economy is not a simple math equation where taxation of one person equals a proportionate amount of additional money for government to spend.
Our economy is an equation with multiple variables. For example, raising taxes on clothing reduces families’ clothing budgets, which equals less growth in retail spending. Other businesses see that we are spending less at Retail Store A, so they reduce hours in Store B, thereby laying off a segment of the workforce further depressing the economy. This is true whether you live in Minnesota or anywhere in America.
Swiper will tell you that he will reduce the overall tax rate while he adds clothing tax to your expenditure column and you will be “better off”. Not even Boots is fooled by this logic because he and Dora have seen time and time again that Swiper will use an ongoing crisis to sneak in and take others’ property while they are distracted. Likewise, the word “Crisis” can be used to justify tax rate increases as soon as our leaders have forgotten they promised a net reduction in taxation.
The only real solution to our economic woes is to take our current economic state as an opportunity to reevaluate our spending and work to find areas where we are duplicating services and not yielding the results that we had hoped to achieve.
We need to understand that the free market creates jobs and we need to free the market from the web of regulations that is preventing our economy from thriving. In a click of a mouse, jobs can be relocated anywhere in the world. Why wouldn’t a company go where it is easier to grow, rather than continue to operate in a place where they have to defend themselves from Swiper every time a crisis emerges?
Even Dora knows there is no “MagicLand” where false promises are fulfilled by Swiper. We need to draw a trusty map of what we need to do in the “real world and not be distracted by things we would like to do if we lived in “MagicLand”.
Some choices will be hard and not every choice will result in everyone being happy. But real leaders aren’t afraid to make tough choices and listen to both those with whom they agree and disagree to understand their concerns.
Let’s not be fooled by Swiper and false promises any longer. There is no quick fix to this economic mess and there is no “Magicland” where the choices will be resolved by raising taxes on families and businesses.
We need to take a lesson from Dora and say “Swiper, NO Swiping!” No, Swiper, you can’t swipe any longer from the taxpayers while they are distracted by their real-world troubles.
It’s time for Dora’s simple map to get us back to living within our means.
If America gets control of our spending and makes the tough choices, we will be able to say, “We did it. (times 3) Hooray!”
This post is dedicated to my 3 year old daughter Claire Colleen and the inspiration she brings to my day.