Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, March 26, 2007
“Belt Tightening” is one of my least favorite expressions. As in “Budgets are cut — gotta do some belt tightening.” Now I certainly understand that in business or government or personal finance that revenue often does not meet expenditures and something has to be done about that. It’s unpleasant but part of life. I get that. What I don’t like is the idea of “belt tightening” to fix the problem.
The expression reveals the short-sightedness of the person saying it. To me, belt tightening means: “Instead of really solving the metaphorical problem by either finding another source of food or exercising more to take weight off (or both), let’s pull the belt another notch causing enough discomfort so I can effectively do neither.”
For this week’s comic I just took it one step further. In the run up to the next Michigan state budget, politicians with a measured seriousness have been talking ad nauseam of tight belts. I asked myself, how do they know that belt is around our waists and not around our necks?…