Time to grow up

Americans need to stop petty short-sightedness if we want results.

In a speech given during one of last weekâÄôs Tea Party protests, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, âÄúweâÄôve got a great union. ThereâÄôs absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.âÄù This is tough talk from Perry, a man who recently accepted $17 billion from the union he would presumably depart. While we donâÄôt pretend to understand the finer points of Texan etiquette, in Minnesota it would be considered extremely rude to scoop up a gift of charity and then spit in the hand that offered it. But we should give a little leeway to Perry and his Tea Party-ing ilk; they are, after all, latecomers to the financial outrage party scene. During the George W. Bush years, Democrats opposed irresponsible government spending on programs that many Americans didnâÄôt support, and so they can sympathize when Republicans express the same sentiment these days. But itâÄôs perhaps understandably difficult to take seriously any claim that Republicans are opposed to large, irresponsible government spending. After all, where were these protestors when Bush cut taxes and doubled down on war? Or when he passed the Medicare Modernization Act, legislation described by the comptroller general as âÄúthe most financially irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s?âÄù The answer is pretty simple: While it was their guy in charge, they didnâÄôt care. They are OK with spending DemocratsâÄô tax dollars on torture and secret prisons run by well-connected defense contractors, but theyâÄôll be damned if President Barack Obama will spend Republican tax dollars to rescue their neighbors from foreclosure or keep auto workers on the assembly line. In reality, neither party has shown the kind of sensibility needed to effectively govern AmericaâÄôs sizeable government, but that should encourage us to work together, rather than go sit in a corner and pout. If we want sound finance, we need to act like adults.