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Today’s Statesman profiles Todd and Michele Erdner’s extraordinary measures to control rising grocery bills for their 7 kids, who Michelle home schools. Is government helping?

Consider that the Erdners’ can’t recall the last time they ordered pizza for delivery and only eat out once a month.  They have reduced yogurt purchases to compensate for rising milk prices.  They buy only store-brand cereal and it sounds like oatmeal may be for lunch.

The article doesn’t mention how much the Erdner’s pay in property taxes on their crowded 2,000 square foot home.  One thing is for sure.  Given that they home school their children, and given what we learn from reading the article (Michelle like her husband has an advanced degree from Stanford in her case child psyhcology and her ingenuity in shopping), I think it’s a safe assumption that she does a great job while her husband works as a chip engineer at Intel.

So here are the Erdners pinching every penny at the store raising what appear to be 7 children who are going to contribute greatly to Texas’ and America’s future, and they are not even sending the taxpayers’ a bill for schooling their kids, or splurging on Domino’s. 

There are a lot of middle class Texas families in the same boat.  It puts it into perspective when the Legislature, and Congress for that matter, votes to expand government – while it may seem small, this kind of story magnifies decisions by the 80th Legislature to spend $50,000 on subsidizing a winery and $600,000 for a pork barrel project involving the Sylvester Turner Park in Houston.   

And of course there’s many legislators and local government officials who’d like to take more of the Erdners’ money to grow government and pay people more who choose not to work.  Suffice to say, we should also at the national level address the milk subsidies that have contributed to the Erdners’ and the rest of Texans paying 35% more for milk in January 2008 than January 2007.  A tax credit for private and home schooling also comes to mind.

Granted, the Erdners’ chose to have 7 children (adorable as you can see in the photos), but what type of society are we if through ever-bigger government we effectively take that choice away for the middle class.  The answer would probably be a dying society both in a literal and moral sense.  If more of our elected officials spent the next taxpayer dollar as carefully as the Erdners spend their next dollar at the grocery store, we will have accomplished our mission.

 

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