Fletcher: We need to trim fat from government

Now that I’m getting to what I think of as a fairly advanced age, I decided I would get a fancy annual physical at the Mayo Clinic to serve as a baseline assessment when (not if) my physical well being started to decline due to age.

I had the exam a couple of months ago and happily there was nothing much amiss at this time. This is not to say there was nothing wrong as they had me don a Speedo and get into a contraption called the Bod Pod.

This infernal device is a smallish cabinet into which you arrange yourself and then they close the door. Actually the measurement is about how much air you displace which indicates your body mass index. The BMI is a scale of how fat one is. I was thinking that at 170 pounds and 5 feet 9 inches, I was in pretty good shape to ace this test. Alas, I am moderately obese and consequently on a self imposed diet.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity can lead to hypertension, cholesterol or triglyceride problems, Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems and some cancers including endometrial, breast and colon. I got on a diet.

As someone with training in economics, I just naturally got to thinking about the spending habits of our federal government and how they remind me of morbid obesity. We don’t need a Bod Pod to tell us government is too fat; we have other methods. The federal budget has a lot in common with me – we’re too big. Too much eating and too much spending led to big problems. Cutting the fat is a way to better physical and economic health.

If we slim down we will have more physical and economic energy which equals more jobs done and more jobs created. We will be better looking to others and to rating agencies. As individuals and government we will have more confidence when working and interacting with others. America and I will probably have more self esteem. Best of all, we will exist longer at a lower weight.

America’s government spending is measuring about 2 1/2 axe handles across the butt and shouldn’t ever go bare mid-drift until we as a nation take some steps to pare it down a bit. Our spending, like over eating, needs some modification.

I heard an economist from a major U.S. bank say we might be in danger of losing the dollar’s most favored position as the reserve currency for the world which is worth billions of dollars in trade advantage. I spoke to him after his speech and reminded him the world’s fastest growing economies of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) had already established a currency of their own for trading among themselves. Essentially, those five had established a new reserve currency for each other.

We are getting an economic malaise while Congress and the Administration ignore the economy. They are afraid of the hard work at reducing spending for fear that they won’t get re-elected.

The economy got into the Bod Pod but the doctors of the economy just can’t pull it back out. America’s economy is just too fat. If we are to create long-term economic growth and jobs, we have to lose a little weight.