President Obama wants to increase the debt ceiling so that it will not be an issue until after the 2012 election. While this may be smart politics for him, this alone should scare every American. If the debt limit is raised, the federal government can continue to spend money it does not have; and the need to increase the debt limit again will be front and center next year.
Obama has urged tax increases along with budget cuts while Republicans have called for budget cuts only. Since Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, Republicans and responsible members of Congress should hold tight and oppose any tax increases.
A discussion over higher taxes should not be held within the context of today’s debate. The problem is not a lack of revenue. If that were the case, then new revenue would be an appropriate discussion. But that isn’t the case. Washington spends too much money. The spending habits of Washington must be brought under control first. If taxes are raised, spending reform will never happen, and spending will remain out of control.
Democrats, Republicans, and President Obama should agree on significant spending cuts. Current negotiations are reported to be in the $2 trillion to $4 trillion range. The American people should understand that such cuts won’t be enough. If they were enough raising the debt ceiling would not be necessary. In addition, these cuts are over a ten year period. That is why it is necessary to increase the debt ceiling now and quite likely in the future. And therein lays the real problem which is the continuation of the need of the federal government to borrow more money. Feel good spending cuts alone are not sufficient. Eliminating the need to borrow money is the real issue.
The solution to overspending in Washington is a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Such an amendment will insure that the federal government cannot spend more than it takes in. It is regrettable that the Congress and the President cannot be trusted to appropriate and spend our money responsibly. Since they cannot a balanced budget amendment is needed. If someone says a balanced budget amendment won’t work on the national level, it is because they don’t want it to work. Most states are required to have a balanced budget. It works on a state level, and it will work on a national level too.
Such reforms will only take place if the American people insist on it. Politicians respond to the ballot box. If Americans want to put this nation’s economic health on the front burner, the politicians will respond. But the heat must be intense and the threat of being booted out of office must be real for well entrenched, detached Washington politicians to do the people’s will.
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