On the first day of my freshman year of college I was 5’9 and weighed in at 150 pounds. That’s 1.75m and 68 kilos for my foreign readers. I was in really good shape. By the end of second semester, I was still 5’9, but weighed 166 pounds (75kg) and was in terrible shape. How’d that happen? Easy. I went from an active high schooler who played soccer 3 times a week, lifted weights 5 days a week, and reffed 120+ soccer games each year who ate good, healthy food at my parents house, to an inactive college kid who played soccer or racquetball once a week, reffed 50 games a year, ate pizza, “chinese food”, dorm cafeteria food, desserts and drank heavily 3+ days per week. That was freshman year. Sixteen pounds in nine months.
By the start of sophomore year, 3 months later, I’d lost it all. As soon as I got out of the dorms, I drank less, ate better and started to bike five days a week and played and reffed more soccer. During the stress of selling my first business, I gained more weight from eating poorly and not exercising. This time, I took off the weight by changing my diet, but not increasing exercise. I lost weight, but ended up weak. I wasn’t really in shape. Other times I tried to get back in shape by only doing exercise, but that never worked. I got stronger, but still was heavy. I wasn’t particularly healthy. The only thing that got me healthy was a change in diet and increased exercise in some combination.
The United States government is overweight. We got there the same way I did: eating more (increasing spending) and exercising less (cutting taxes). We have $15 trillion dollars in debt that’s expected to balloon over the next generation. But unfortunately we’re not fifteen pounds overweight, we’re more like 200 pounds heavier than we should be. We’re 5’9 and 350 pounds (1.75m and 159kg).
The Republicans say that we should go on a diet (cut spending) but keep on with our sedentary ways. If we just stopped eating so much and we won’t be fat anymore. Many Democrats say that we should just exercise more (increase taxes) and keep on eating. If we do that we’ll get in shape.
If we follow the Republican play of eating less, we’ll lose weight. But we’ll lose both fat and muscle. At the end of our diet, we’ll be weaker, but weigh less. We’ll be at our ideal weight, but we won’t be in shape. If we follow the Democratic plan of exercising more, we’ll get stronger, but we won’t lose much weight. We’ll still have too much fat along with our newfound muscle. Both plans end up with unhealthy economies. And if we cut food so much, we could starve to death. Our internal organs could shut down. But if we go into an intense exercise plan as a 350 pound 5’8 man, we could have a severe heart attack.
Just like with getting healthy, the only approach that makes sense is a change in diet and exercise in coorinated combination. We need to cut spending, reallocate our priorities and increase taxes. That’s the only way our country gets healthy again. That’s the middle way that our country needs.