If your eyes, heart and temper can take it, visit usdebtclock.org and watch a few dozen calculations related to national spending spin higher and higher.

As of Thursday afternoon, one of the most watched figures, the national debt, was soaring toward $17 trillion. It grows by $100,000 every few seconds.

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But this commentary is not about national debt. It's about Christmas trees.

Mount Carmel Borough Council caused a bit of a stir when it decided it would no longer collect discarded Christmas trees, a service that had been provided for many years.

As Mayor J. Kevin Jones explains it, people threw out their trees over such a long period of time that he grew tired of seeing borough workers circle town day after day looking for the latest discarded trees. It was costly and inefficient.

Many understand the borough's position, while a few seem to think they've been denied an inalienable right.

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Not surprisingly, it took all but a few days for the private sector to fashion a solution. In this case, volunteers from Project MCA Cleanup, with help from an anonymous local person who has donated a wood chipper, will collect and chop up the trees. Problem solved.

Ralpho Township already has a similar arrangement with the local business association.

As people have pointed out, getting a Christmas tree into a home and decorated takes some effort - yet we do it without the government's help. Disposal takes effort, too, and we shouldn't rely on the government to make that happen, either.

There are plenty of options for those who don't have the benefit of taxpayer-funded collection or local volunteers or civic groups. Contact local recycling centers, or call your garbage man. Maybe there's a local environmental group that would take them, as Habitat For Wildlife did up until recently in the greater Shamokin area.

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In time, those upset about Mount Carmel's decision will realize that, while it was nice that the borough collected discarded Christmas trees, it's not something taxpayers should necessarily expect. As it is, we expect far too much from our government, and that's why the numbers at usdebtclock.org have hit 13 figures.

Meanwhile, when Project MCA Cleanup volunteers come by this Saturday, have your tree ready - and maybe a dollar or two to compensate them for their gas, time and trouble. That's still a great deal.