Addressing Government Debt

By James Schaefer.

In the space of just a few months, pundits from across the political spectrum have embraced the need to get our fiscal house in order.  Now the debate is about timing, the right ratio of spending cuts and tax increases, and the nature of the very-political process that’s going to get us to our shared goal of balanced budgets.

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (Beware the Balanced Budget Deal), Peter Ferrara argued that increasing taxes to help solve the debt problem is a fool’s game.  He thinks that spending cuts are always undone at a later date, while tax increases are forever . . . . .  Robert L. Bixby of the Boston Globe (Unlock Common Sense in Public Spending) acknowledges the need for both spending cuts and tax increases to address our ballooning debt problem;  but he also pleads that we keep the stimulus-spending spigot open in the near term.  From different ends of the political spectrum they each worry about the choices that will be made in the year ahead.

The issue, in one word, is trust.

It is the glue that exists at the heart of every relationship, whether it be a marriage, or a business relationship, or between a country’s citizens and its politicians.   And at the moment America’s taxpayers have little trust for their representatives in Congress.  Their approval rating currently stands at just 21% (RCP Poll), and it probably won’t improve until they return to their former role as public servants.  They are not public masters!

We might well find that the pain of unravelling the debt issue — biting the bullet, and making the sacrifices that will be necessary to pay down the ballooning debt — is acceptable to a lot of Americans, provided that there is some assurance that making those sacrifices will be a one-time event, and that the problem will not recur.

All I ask, then, are for some Constitutional Amendments . . .

. . . to require a balanced budget

. . .  to limit the size of government relative to GDP

. . . to provide absolute transparency on the cost — both current and future — of government’s largesse

Given these, I have no issue with making the sacrifices necessary to help pay down the debt, or to forego programs and services.  And I will gladly do for myself what I should be doing, and what ultimately will make us more self-sufficient, and stronger, both individually and as a nation.

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