Both Democrats and Republicans have caused this problem. The debt has increased no matter which party controls Congress and the White House. While Republicans demand more spending for national defense, Democrats demand more spending for domestic programs. The result is uncontrolled spending and waste across all segments of the federal government. The resulting deficits are creating this obscene national debt, which will become an unmanageable burden for future generations of Americans.
Ideally, Congress should pass a Balanced Budget Amendment preventing any deficit spending. States and municipalities in our country must balance their budgets, so the federal government should have the same requirement. Unfortunately, since we can “print” more at the federal level, there is no real desire to live within our means.
Another answer is congressional term limits. If members of Congress are not allowed to stay in Washington D.C. for decades, they will not accumulate so much power and become so disconnected from their constituents. Today, Congress listens more to special interests and bureaucrats than their voters.
Democrats believe the answer to this problem is higher taxes; however, the evidence shows that the real answer is cutting taxes. Currently, the country is enjoying a booming economy partly due to the aggressive personal and corporate tax cuts that were signed into law by President Trump.
The most effective way to deal with the national debt has always been the same, reducing the size of the federal government. Here are some ideas on how this can be accomplished:
1) Eliminate all foreign aid. A country that runs a deficit cannot afford to give any money to other countries. This would save more than $50 billion per year
2) Bring home troops from Afghanistan. It costs $45 billion per year for the United States to continue the war that has been raging since 2001
3) Eliminate the Departments of Energy and Education. For example, just eliminating the Department of Education would save taxpayers $68.1 billion per year.
4) Block grant to the states all funding for Medicaid, food stamps, the state children’s health insurance program and other welfare programs. This would create tremendous savings for the federal government. In fact, for just Medicaid funding, block grants would save the federal government approximately $30 billion per year
5) Repeal the last vestiges of Obamacare
6) Freeze all salaries of federal employees. President Trump did this last year and it should be continued while the crisis is ongoing. The savings will be approximately $4 billion per year
7) Eliminate 250,000 contractors per year saving taxpayers over $20 billion per year
Other solutions include bringing home troops that are stationed in many wealthy foreign countries that can afford to handle their own defense needs. In addition, if we cap Medicare growth to just one percent per year the savings would be significant.
The ideas are plentiful, but the political will is missing in Washington D.C. The only way this will be solved is if the American people demand action. A great time to generate the public response will be the upcoming election.
Hopefully President Trump will make this a signature issue for his re-election campaign. Unfortunately, Democratic presidential candidates have been embracing the “Green New Deal” of U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) which is expected to cost American taxpayers tens of trillions of dollars. Her plan will make our horrible debt situation much, much worse. It is another reason to hope the Democrats are not able to enact their radical agenda and inflict severe misery on the American people.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]