Or maybe they tried the all too intuitive "crack will make me feel healthy again" thing. I don't know.

I stumbled across this op-ed by magician/comedian Penn Jillette a few days ago, and the more I read it, the better it gets.

His point is simple: sometimes going against your instincts works, and when it does it's pretty cool, but spending more money to get out of debt or "spend to prosperity" just doesn't work. It can't.

Obviously his argument is aimed at the federal government and President Obama, but the basic thrust of his column can just as easily be applied to Wisconsin. Governor Doyle is proposing a budget that increases spending by more than 7% - or $4.5 billion - over the next two years. Yet we do this by borrowing and taxing more and more money. The structural deficit - the state's credit card balance, if you will - will only grow because we don't fix the problem.

I don't have a degree in accounting or economics, but I do know that common sense dictates that when times are tough, or you start making less money than before - or in the case of the state, taking in less taxes - you need to cut back on spending. It's not a hard concept. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of fellow Wisconsinites are doing this, why is it so hard for Governor Doyle and the legislature?

I think Penn summed it up best:
I live in Vegas, and I see people by the side of the road with cardboard signs who seem like they might have tried that spending their way out of debt thing. Or maybe they tried the all too intuitive "crack will make me feel healthy again" thing. I don't know.

Didn't lots of people try piling up debt on credit cards and buying houses they couldn't afford in hopes of solving all their financial problems? I've tried spending more than I was going to earn (remember, I was carny trash, that's why I know how to eat fire), and it way didn't work. Spending more money than I had to spend put me more in debt, just like my silly intuition warned me.