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Resolutions from the ‘No, duh’ department

Tom Purcell
For the Nevada Appeal

Get this: The federal government is offering tips on New Year’s resolutions.

I stumbled upon its “Popular New Year’s Resolutions” page on usa.gov, the official Web portal of the United States government.

“Lose Weight” is one. When I clicked the link there, it took me to the page for the Weight-control Information Network (WIN), a government agency tasked with keeping the public informed about obesity, weight control, physical activity and nutrition.

WIN’s advice: “To lose weight you need to take in fewer calories than you use” and “create a healthy eating plan.”

Excited by such groundbreaking information, I moved along to “Manage Debt” – something the government surely knows plenty about.

Its link took me to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Protection page. There I was advised that if I’m knee-deep in debt, I’ll want to develop a budget and contact my creditors.

So useful was that advice, I couldn’t wait to move on to “Save Money.” Its link took me to a page that offered 66 ways to save.

I clicked on “Credit Cards” and was informed that, to avoid a late fee, I ought to send in my payment five to 10 days before the bill is due. I also learned that I can avoid interest charges if I pay off my balance each month!

Nonetheless, the government offers two other useful suggestions: “Drink Less Alcohol” and “Quit Smoking Now.”

The first link brought me to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism page. The existence of this government agency struck me as ironic.

Our government is doing so much to cause us to drink – spending, deficits, debt – that it has to establish another government entity to help us stop?

The smoking link took me to another government Web site, smokefree.gov, where I learned that smoking isn’t good for you.

Though I don’t smoke, I was so delighted by the “free” government support, I’m looking into starting.

“Reduce Stress Overall” was another resolution suggestion. The link took me to MedlinePlus, an online encyclopedia of health information. It is a service of another government entity, the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

There I learned that long-term stress isn’t good – that to address it, one must get to its underlying causes.

Well, here is an underlying cause: Our government has gotten so bloated, it is offering tips on New Year’s resolutions – and directing us to government agencies to help us keep them.

It’s enough to drive a man to drink.

When I break that resolution, the last place I’ll go for support is the federal government.

• Tom Purcell is a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.