No Debt Ceiling Increase without Cut, Cap, and Balance

To the Editor:  

Both President Obama and Speaker Boehner failed to deliver acceptable proposals for raising the debt ceiling and both failed to explain the real situation to the American people.  

President Obama hasn’t provided specifics for a  plan, he makes no real attempt at compromise, his desired taxes on “the rich” provide a minuscule income, he continues to lie about the Bush tax cuts which actually increased tax revenues and shifted more of the tax burden to the rich, and he continues to threaten seniors and financial catastrophe.  (We hear similar threats every time our leaders try to pressure our representatives into doing bad things.)   

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office spokesman said, “We can’t score a speech“, meaning the President has provided no detailed proposal.    President Obama wants to eliminate the tax breaks (he signed into law in the 2009 stimulus bill) for corporate jets to generate $300 million in revenue … not much compared to the $1.65 trillion deficit.  The taxes on the rich he wants will raise about $70 billion, less than 5 percent of Obama’s $1.65 trillion deficit.  President Obama has no plan for any meaningful cut in the deficit.  The administration offered $2 billion in spending cuts but not enough tax increases to significantly lower the deficit.         

The President talks about a “balanced approach”.  He demands tax increases from “the rich”, but where is the balance?  He offers future cuts in greatly inflated future spending estimates.  What about some real balance?  How about cutting some of the 200,000 new Federal employees that Obama hired while the private sector was struggling and suffering?  How about cutting the compensation of Federal employees that, on average, earn twice that of private sector employees?  Under President Obama the number of Federal employees earning over $100,000 has more than doubled, how about cutting those salaries back to 2008 levels?  What is the sacrifice of the taxpayers who don’t have an income of $250,000 or more?  Where is the sacrifice of government itself which continues to grow year after year without any meaningful review of the efficiency, effectiveness, redundancy, return on investment, and/or undesirable unintended affects of government programs?          

How does President Obama have the gall to talk about “living within our means” when he proposes $1 trillion deficits for the foreseeable future?  

Federal revenue in August is estimated to be over $170 Billion.  Interest on the debt is $29 billion, social security is about $50 billion, and Medicare / Medicaid is about $50 billion.  There is not enough income to pay all typical expenses, but if the top priority items such as the debt service, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and military salaries are not paid, it will be because President Obama choose to spend the money on something else and cause the financial default or hardships for seniors or soldier’s families.          

I am more sympathetic with Speaker Boehner because the House of Representatives has already passed two proposals for dealing with the debt ceiling, the so-called “Ryan budget” and the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan.  Both these plans provide starting points for compromise, but the Democrat controlled Senate rejected both out of hand, they didn‘t even offer amendments making the proposals acceptable.  The Senate, like President Obama, has not made a proposal that the CBO can score, they only criticize Republican proposals and demand that Republicans give in to their demands of continued reckless deficit spending.    

Neither President Obama nor Speaker Boehner tell the full story.  Both are talking about cuts in the growth of spending.  But no one is talking about cutting the size of government… and that is what is needed.        

Why do we continue programs or departments like Energy and Education that fail to achieve their objectives?  Why do we subsidize ethanol, food, petroleum, post office, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Amtrak, and so many other things that should survive or die on their own?  Why do we bailout anyone?  Why do we tolerate welfare going to illegal aliens? Or, to generations of families?  Or, to able-bodied but lazy people?  Or a welfare system that discourages fathers from staying with their families, or which encourages young single women to have and keep babies which so often locks Mother  and children into lives of poverty?  Why do we have 44 redundant job retraining programs?  Why do we tolerate Federal funding for so many ridiculous “studies” like the recent one on how male genitalia size affects gay men’s “health”?  (Yes, a single study is a drop in the bucket but there are thousands, probably tens of thousands of these stupid, worthless programs and the costs add up!)   Before collecting a single penny from any taxpayer, it seems to me that serious cutting is necessary … and that is what the President and Congress should do before doing anything about the debt ceiling or asking for a single extra penny in taxes.            

Neither President Obama nor Speaker Boehner tell the full debt story.    They try to scare us by saying that if the debt ceiling is not raised, our credit rating might be lowered.  But President Obama’s plans to increase our debt by at least $1 trillion annually for the foreseeable future is a bigger and  definite threat to our credit rating.  Our already significant interest payments won’t be affordable.  China and credit rating companies warn us that we are creating too much debt.  It is just a matter of time before our huge, growing  debt to cause our credit rating to fall.  

Then the US will need a bailout.  Unfortunately, there is not enough money in the world to bail us out and the austerity programs in Greece will look like DisneyWorld compared to what our creditors will force on us.  

Most Americans know that our Federal Government is way too big, that it spends and wastes too much money, and that there are many failing and counter-productive programs that need to be eliminated.  Most Americans feel it is immoral to pass the debts from this inappropriate and unnecessary  spending onto future generations.   

The “Cut, Cap, and Balance” proposal provides a useful structure for getting our country onto a financially sensible path, but it does not cut enough spending in the first year.  Starting immediately, real spending needs to be cut by at least 10 percent annually until a balanced budget is achieved and we start repaying the debt.  

Solving our spending problem will be very difficult, it won‘t be accomplished by business as usual.  Politicians who are looking for political advantage or personal gain are not likely to be willing to take the steps that are needed.  Fixing the problems is likely to reveal many government failures and lies.  It appears our current leaders are not up to the challenge, but, nevertheless, our spending problem needs to be fixed.      

If you care about the economic future of yourself, your children, and future generations; if you care about freedom, maintaining our tolerant and generous society; if you care about the opportunities our country provides; if you care about the freedom and well being of humans on earth; then we, the people, need to make our political leaders stop spending, cut wasteful government, and put our country on a path to financial health.         

Demand that spending be cut by ten percent annually until a balanced budget is achieved.  Demand that wasteful, redundant, low priority, and failing programs be eliminated.   Since politicians won’t make difficult financial decisions on their own, demand passage of a balanced budget amendment which limits Federal spending to the traditional eighteen percent of GDP.     

Demand that our representatives fix our financial problems.  Tell them we will accept a little pain now if necessary to a
void the harsh pain that will come later and perhaps fall on our children and grandchildren.  Tell them you will stand with them if they solve these spending problems, but not if they kick them down the road letting them become more severe.  

Demand that there be no increase in the debt ceiling without real, significant   spending cuts and putting our country onto an honest path to a balanced budget.   

Don Ewing
Meredith, NH