Just what you've been waiting for, I'm sure.
Update: It's tomorrow.
With NH state budget crises continuing another highly-placed individual used one of my least favorite metaphors yesterday, the state budget as family budget. Conservatives may use it as often as liberals, and I don't like it either way.
Usually, these highly-placed individuals are content to stroke their chins and make coded references to "looking at the revenue side of things." By which they mean a broad-based task. But sometimes they go full out and feel obliged to explain that if a family can't make ends meet, sometimes cutting their personal budgets just isn't enough. What they need is to make more money. From the family side of the analogy, that's sensible enough. Here's the problem from the government side.
The government is not the parent in this family. The government is one of the teenage children we hire to do some work around the place (and if you keep screwing up, we'll give the job to your younger sister, even if she doesn't (yet) know how to start the lawnmower). The citizens are the parents, not you. This is the center of what you don't get - and neither does more than 50% of the electorate. You are not the parents.
The citizens in the NH family may be bad parents. We may even be very bad parents. I grant that possibility, and some days even agree with it. But I also know that teenagers are likely to believe their parents are doing things wrong, and even have lists of examples why they are, when the parents in question are doing reasonably well. The teenager's opinion is interesting, but not decisive.
Also, the teenager is sometimes right. There are bad parents with wonderful children. Happens all the time. But the teenager is seldom a good judge of that.
Teenagers have great ideas about all the good stuff the family should buy. They are in fact often authorities on that subject. Sometimes they are even right. But that's not enough to get to be the parent, and decide that somebody else (mom or dad) needs to work more hours.
We citizens need the reminder also. We have to be the parents, or the children will take over and rule the household. It's just reality, a law of nature. Power vacuum and all that. Citizens also have to be willing to step up and be parents, even under criticism and challenge.
Elected officials are teenaged children we hire to do work around the house. Hold that thought.