Saturday, 11 June 2011 18:28

Urgent, “It’s the U.S. economy, stupid”

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U.S. Economy“It’s the economy, stupid.” That was the catch phrase back in 1992 when Bill Clinton defeated incumbent President George H.W. Bush. The U. S. economy was in the doldrums, George Bush reneged on his no tax hike promise, “Read my lips, no new taxes,” and the American people were ready for the governor of Arkansas. Although the Republicans do not have a candidate as glib or charismatic as Bill Clinton, they do have an economy that is in worse shape today than what America faced in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

The stock market is in a dangerous slump. The housing market has yet to recover and recovery is expected to be a long way down the road. Groceries are more expensive than ever and so is gasoline. And our nation needs another increase in the national debt ceiling so that the federal government does not default on its debt payments. There is no plan for recovery, just a continuation of the very pattern that got us into the mess we are in.

As the Washington politicians continue to talk, no action just talk, the American people understand that dramatic steps must be taken to balance the federal budget, reduce spending, and invoke responsible spending habits on the Congress and the President so that record deficits become a thing of the past.

I am appalled that Washington just doesn’t get it. It makes no sense to me that grown adults who claim to have the best interest of our nation in mind do not get the sense of urgency that is required to straighten out our nations’ downward economic spiral. Just take a look at Greece which is bankrupt and looking to the European Union to bail it out, and England where socialism has ruled the country for years allowing the government to be all things to all people. The result? A bankrupt nation.

These are lessons we can learn from, but our elected leaders in Washington don’t seem to care. Republicans are struggling to put together an economic plan for recovery while Democrats sit back and criticize whatever the Republicans put forward. This is a crisis, folks, and you need to take it serious. Forget politics. Our nation is heading toward economic insolvency where the payment of the interest on our debt will saddle this country with the inability to ever balance its budget, provide for the defense of our nation, and take care of those services that the American people expect of our government.

The solution is simple. In fact so simple that it makes one wonder why it has not been implemented. First, the federal budget must be balanced for the current and upcoming fiscal years. We have no choice. America doesn’t have the money to fund its exorbitant budget which is principally designed to get politicians re-elected. No reasonable argument can be made to fund a budget that the government cannot afford. Secondly, the nation must begin a realistic and systematic pay down of the national debt. The $14.3 trillion debt must be paid off. Our creditors must be paid. The danger of having China as our principal creditor is suicide. Pay down the debt as quickly as possible. Third, cut tax rates for individuals and business to encourage economic growth and investment. It worked for Ronald Reagan, and it can work again.


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America needs a balanced budget amendment requiring Congress and the President, including the Vice-President, to adhere to a balanced budget except in times of true national crisis, for example a war or a depression. And even then the federal government should be required to approve, implement, and follow a plan to pay down that debt. The members of Congress, the President, and the Vice-President should forfeit their salaries if the budget goes out of balance or if they enact an unbalanced budget or one that later becomes unbalanced.

Lastly, if Congress does not adopt and the President has not signed a balanced budget into law, then the federal government should be limited to spending only a fraction, say 90%, of the average of the prior three year’s balanced budgets. And, if there is no budget, there is no pay.

This is no way to run government; but, given the history of politics over governing in Washington, it is necessary to implement restrictive and onerous rules to force Washington to take the budget crisis seriously. Now my suggestions are just that, suggestions. The message though is an urgent one. Fiscal sanity and responsibility must come to Washington. Politics needs to go by the wayside. The politicians we elect must act responsibility, or we need new leadership in Washington. The people get it. Washington must also.

Lawrence ChehardyAbout Lawrence Chehardy

For thirty-four years Lawrence Chehardy served as Assessor of Jefferson Parish and throughout his career has been a champion the maintenance of the Homestead Exemption.  During his years as Assessor Lawrence Chehardy served as President, Vice-president, and Treasure of the Louisiana Assessors’ Association. He also served on numerous boards and committees of the association.

Chehardy has extensive knowledge of politics, political campaigning, and the political process. When it comes to political strategy and creating the campaign’s message, Lawrence is one of the best. Lawrence Chehardy has been instrumental in the election of numerous candidates through endorsements as well as campaign strategy. In many cases his endorsement turned the election in favor of those candidates.

In addition to his political commentary and public speaking engagements, Lawrence Chehardy is a founding member of the Chehardy, Sherman, Ellis, Murray, Recile, Griffith, Stakelum & Hayes Law Firm and serves as its managing partner.


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