The Stolen Cookie

As a parent there are occasions when we have the opportunity to teach our children important values. I recently had one of these “teachable moments”. Our family had made a small batch of chocolate chip cookies. Three cookies were given to me, my wife, my daughter and my son. The kids ate their cookies on the first day; I decided I would wait until the following day to eat my last two cookies.

As probably comes to no surprise to most parents, one of my cookies was missing the next morning. Michael, my 5 year old son, as his 7 year old sister gleefully reported to me, had taken one of my cookies. She then asked me to give her my last cookie because “It’s not fair that Michael gets more cookies than me”

I asked her “So you want the person who has already suffered the loss of one cookie stolen to have to give up another to be fair?”

“Yes” came her reply. (Moral lessons sometimes take a while to grasp)

However, when I asked her how she would feel if it had been her cookie that had been taken, she understood my lesson. This is a lesson that Washington needs to learn.

There are now people who want a ‘cookie’ from the government to reduce their mortgage debt saying things like “If the government can bail out the big banks, why not me? Or “If government can bailout Wall Street, then why not the little guy?”

This is the problem with giving away ‘cookies’. Once one group has been given a ‘cookie’, the next group justifiably asks “why can’t I have a ‘cookie’ too?” Before long a crushing national debt has appeared. Only then does it occurs to us: Our kids will be the ones burdened with providing these ‘cookies’

It is at this point the clever thieves among us suggest we take from the productive instead so their debt can be reduced. They hope we do not figure out the harsher price our children will pay. As the productive are deprived of resources, their ability to compete in the world diminishes—our children enter a job market where most good-paying jobs have disappeared. At this point we will regret eating those vaporous cookies that, in retrospect, only produced a temporary and empty satisfaction. Let’s not get to that point.