Florida Governor, Charlie Crist, seems to be delighted with federal stimulus money given to the state. However, other Florida officials are not so comfortable with the windfall. They warn of long-term consequences to the short-term solution.
State Sen. Mike Bennett feels that the temporary boost is a precarious solution. He says the cash is worse than Monopoly money, “because Monopoly money is real, and the Obama bucks cost you in the end.” State Rep. Dean Cannon, who heads a new Florida House committee on the economy, likened the stimulus money to “using your credit card to pay the mortgage.” He reflected that, “It might work in the short-term, but it will eventually leave you worse off.”
The concept of living in the present is quite entrenched in the current culture. Credit cards are enticing. Many do not care to figure the real cost of making minimum payments on a myriad of alluring items. Even small-ticket items can add up, especially with exorbitant interest rates. Consumers are reeling as a result of “the credit card crisis.”
Purchasing a home beyond one’s means was surprisingly easy. Frequently this was accomplished with little or nothing down. Delayed payment was often a component of “balloon mortgages.” When reality and mortgage payments finally set in, many were shocked and filled with angst of the repercussions of “the mortgage crisis.”
Judaism can be an antidote for the results of living in the moment with little insight to the future. Many of the structures of the Jewish lifestyle mandate the opposite approach. They help an individual to curb impulsive response.
Even a young child is made to realize that what he does now will affect his future. If he takes a bite of a hot dog, he cannot have an ice cream cone for many hours. He learns to consider his actions. If he wants a sandwich he cannot just shove the food in his mouth. First he has to wash his hands and say a blessing. He learns to have self-control.
The Torah’s mitzvot are a remedy for many of society’s woes. Even the most intimate parts of one’s life are mandated to a structure. Using the skills make an individual free of the terrible burden of being a slave to his desires. One is able to take a step back before he acts.
Governor Crist would be well served to consider the warnings of his fellow Florida state officials. He needs to consider both now and later.