Andy Griffith’s sad ad in favor of the new health care bill brags about the “free” things that older Americans get because of the new system. Don’t you love it that our representatives have given so much free stuff to the American people? Here’s the catch: We have to pay for the free stuff.

Here is what the voters know that the people who spent our earnings in the 111th Congress refuse to recognize and that the creators of Mr. Griffiths’ ad glossed over (whoever talked this American icon into doing this ad ought be hauled in for elder abuse):  

One of the key lessons from this year’s historic elections is that Americans understand that nothing is truly free. It’s a basic, common-sense principle. The broad message was that as a nation, we cannot endlessly spend money we don’t have, pretending that somehow the bill will magically disappear.

It was a first, important step in returning our country to both reality and responsibility. The American people wisely said they’ve had enough of liberal, unsustainable spending. Taxpayers know that the money the government spends is our money. It belongs to the people, and eventually the bill comes due. And Americans know from experience that we all behave differently when we’re spending our own money, not “someone else’s money.”

This is from an op-ed by Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, and possible presidential candidate. Pawlenty compares behavior at an event with a cash bar and one with an open bar-you make different decisions when you are paying for what you consume. Washington has become an open bar.  Pawlenty says it’s closing time. I always try to think of it this way: money becomes “government money” only after the government takes it from us. It used to be our money, our earnings, funds that could be used for, say, college for our children or our own retirement. But it goes to Washington and becomes money to do supposedly free things.

Some of my grumpy friends say that things won’t change with the 112th Congress. I’m optimistic-but mostly because I realize that the country is at a tipping point. The incredible spending of recent decades, the belief that government programs are somehow free-all that has led us to this pass–have piled up to tht point that we cannot ignore them. At last, we know that free things take money out of our pockets.