Jewish World Review
Jan. 5, 2010/ 19 Teves 5770
New Year's Resolutions, Fed-style
Get this: The federal government is offering tips on New Year's resolutions.
I stumbled upon its "Popular New Year's Resolutions" page on usa.gov, the official
Web portal of the United States government.
"Lose Weight" is one. When I clicked the link there, it took me to the page for the
Weight-control Information Network (WIN), a government agency tasked with keeping
the public informed about obesity, weight control, physical activity and nutrition.
WIN's advice: "To lose weight you need to take in fewer calories than you use" and
"create a healthy eating plan."
Excited by such groundbreaking information, I moved along to "Manage Debt"
something the government surely knows plenty about.
Its link took me to the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Protection page. There I
was advised that if I'm knee-deep in debt, I'll want to develop a budget and contact
my creditors. I was also warned to be leery of debt-restructuring agencies.
So useful was that advice, I couldn't wait to move on to "Save Money." Its link took
me to a page that offered 66 ways to save.
I clicked on "Credit Cards" and was informed that, to avoid a late fee, I ought to
send in my payment five to 10 days before the bill is due. I also learned that I can
avoid interest charges if I pay off my balance each month!
Since I own some rental properties, I was curious to see what money-saving tips the
government is giving to prospective renters.
To wit: Renters are encouraged to shop around for the best deal or find a
building they want to live in and contact the building manager to see if there is
And before signing a lease, renters should be cautious: "Remember that signing a
lease probably obligates you to make all monthly payments for the term of the
Probably? I've written a few leases in my day. I've been careful to keep "probably"
out of the final drafts.
Nonetheless, the government offers two other useful suggestions: "Drink Less
Alcohol" and "Quit Smoking Now."
The first link brought me to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
page. The existence of this government agency struck me as ironic.
Our government is doing so much to cause us to drink spending, deficits, debt
that it has to establish another government entity to help us stop?
The smoking link took me to another government Web site, smokefree.gov, where I
learned that smoking isn't good for you. I was able to get live online help from a
federal employee at the National Cancer Institute.
Though I don't smoke, I was so delighted by the "free" government support, I'm
looking into starting.
"Reduce Stress Overall" was another resolution suggestion. The link took me to
MedlinePlus, an online encyclopedia of health information. It is a service of
another government entity, the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
There I learned that long-term stress isn't good that to address it, one must get
to its underlying causes.
Well, here are some underlying causes.
Our government has gotten so bloated, it is offering tips on New Year's resolutions
and directing us to government agencies to help us keep them?
If any entity should be making resolutions, shouldn't it be the federal government -
and shouldn't its resolutions be based on the will and direction of the people?
Of course the birds in charge are ramming through legislation regardless of our will.
It's enough to drive a man to drink.
When I break that resolution, the last place I'll go for support is the federal
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© 2010, Tom Purcell