Boy, do we need more snow in Washington, D.C.
You see, when it snows in Pittsburgh, my home town, or any town in the heartland, people pick up their shovels and clear their sidewalks and driveways.
We are invigorated by the crisp air and a good sweat -- we are cheerful as we sip hot coffee and catch up with neighbors.
That's not how Washington reacts to snow.
I lived in the Washington region for nearly eight years. When the forecasters say an inch or two is on the way, panic sets in.
Powerful people shut down schools, cancel flights and order "non-essential" government employees -- and that covers just about everybody -- to stay home.
Last week in D.C., the snow fell so thick -- the winds were so bitter cold -- that even global warming conferences were canceled.
Activists, who tell us toilet paper and bottled water are bad for the environment, flocked to supermarkets to hoard toilet paper and bottled water.
Why such panic?
Because Washingtonians aren't used to reality.
In Washington, you see, a fellow can make a fine living by spewing bogus numbers and arguments to convince policymakers to write laws that favor the organizations he represents.
The government doesn't much care for reality, either. If it needs more money, it just borrows or prints more.
If politicians want to impose government-run health care on us, they simply contort their bill to produce estimates that have zero correlation to what the costs will turn out to be.
Some are so good at this game that they enjoy 30-year careers without ever approximating reality of any kind.
Unless snow falls.
Snow is real. It falls at its own whim. You can slip on it and hurt yourself. You can wreck your car in it.
Commonsense people in the heartland don't complain much when snow comes.
We clear our sidewalks and driveways, so the mailman won't fall.
We plan ahead. We outfit our cars with snow tires, so we can get to work when the snow arrives.
We prepare for reality because we will suffer reality's consequences if we don't.
It's not like that in Washington -- reality often has no consequences there.
Implement an ethanol-subsidies program that screws up markets and drives up the cost of food?
Oh, well. At least their intentions were good.
Pass the largest spending bill in history -- one that has stimulated little, except our deficit and our debt?
Oh, well. Maybe they'd better pass another.
Run a massive deficit brought on by reckless spending?
Oh, well. They'll just print and borrow more dough, so they can spend even more.
Such is "common sense" in Washington.
When record snows fall in the heartland, our first instinct is to do what we must to keep the snow from affecting our families' well-being.
When record snows fall in D.C., the Washingtonian's first instinct is to politicize and spin and tell us the snow is caused by global warming.
Or argue that taxpayers are losing an estimated $100 million in lost work and productivity every day the government is shut down and 230,000 federal employees remain idle.
That's what John Berry, Office of Personnel Management chief, tried to do.
Hey, John, here's an offer: If you promise to keep government employees idle AFTER the snow melts, we'll pay you $1 BILLION a day.
We in the heartland know, for the most part, that the less the federal government does, the better off we are.
That's why we need more snow in Washington, D.C.
Tom Purcell, a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Visit Tom on the web at www.TomPurcell.com, or e-mail him at Purcell@caglecartoons.com.