In the spring of 1984, I was 10 years old and had one burning desire — to get my hands on the new Twisted Sister album Stay Hungry. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was the greatest song I had ever heard. Well, at least since Quiet Riot’s “Cum on Feel the Noize” the year before and Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages” before that.

But with only a $5-a-week allowance, I would have to wait two weeks before being able to afford the $7.99 cassette. When I begged my parents for the extra money early, I was told that “money doesn’t grow on trees.” But Mom and Dad were wrong.

If President Barack Obama and the Democrats are to be believed, the age-old economic lesson my parents tried to instill in me has been utterly rebuked. Money not only grows on trees, but the trees are blooming. How else can you explain Washington’s decision to print more money to solve America’s current lack-of-money woes?

With the national Democratic Party, a majority of state Republicans, and more than a few constituents bashing him for resisting the Democrats’ $787 billion dollar stimulus, Gov. Mark Sanford still insists on pointing out that you can’t fix the economy by “spending a bunch of money we don’t have.”

Said Sanford last week, “What you’re doing is buying into the notion that if we just print some more money that we don’t have and send it to different states, we’ll create jobs … If that’s the case, why isn’t Zimbabwe a rich place?”

In Zimbabwe, attempts to stimulate the economy by printing money — including a $100 trillion bill — have saddled the already poor African nation with debt and further financial meltdown.

Conservatives are in a tough spot right now, precisely because in these tough economic times, few people want to hear that “money doesn’t grow on trees.” Sanford, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, market observer Peter Schiff, and others predicted the current calamity, but they were ignored then and they are being ignored now, in favor of “experts” who never saw the crisis coming and now seek to solve it with more of the same.

Any reasonable adult knows that money does not grow on trees. Sanford, Paul, Schiff, and company are looking to cut the branches while Obama and his friends want to water the roots and further drown the dollar.

In these crucial times, we cannot afford more business-as-usual “leadership.” Or as Thomas E. Woods writes, “We are at a watershed point in our country’s history. Historians may look back on it as a turning point comparable in scope to the New Deal, the Progressive Era, or even the Civil War … The problem with the stimulus is much more fundamental — namely, the blockhead economics on which it is based. What we need, in short, is full-throttle opposition.”

Woods is correct. “Full-throttle opposition” is exactly what this moment requires, but the kind of leaders that can do that will have to possess balls of steel, a particularly difficult challenge in the hostile economic and political environment of today.

Continues Woods, “[Grown-ups] understand that wealth is created through saving, investment, and entrepreneurial skill; that wealth has to be produced before it can be consumed; and that lending is impossible in the absence of prior saving.”

He adds, “Today, we grown-ups have to explain these basic principles to the deranged children — as they run around with their fingers in their ears, and screaming ‘I can’t hear you!’ — who run our government, write our opinion columns, and fill American airwaves with stupid and destructive economic advice.”

One need not be an economist to understand basic economics, and Woods’ common sense reflects the same elementary principles everyday people apply to their everyday lives — you cannot endlessly spend what you don’t have; credit isn’t unlimited; money does not grow on trees.

As a kid, I used to fantasize about Monopoly money being real and mine for the taking. As an adult, I find that this fantasy is now a necessary prerequisite for political office.

If money does grow on trees, as Obama and his party now suggest, there’s no reason for us all not to buy million dollar homes, sports cars, and dine out every night. All we have to do is print more money! Such thinking is precisely what has led to our current crisis, and it’s foolish to believe more of the same is going to get us out of it.

Catch Southern Avenger commentaries every Tuesday and Friday at 7:50 a.m. on the “Morning Buzz with Richard Todd” on 1250 AM WTMA.