Sustainable Government

By James Schaefer.

  In a recent Opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal (Tax Aversion Syndrome and Our Deficit Future), Peter G. Peterson writes about Congressional Budget Office projections that show the public debt rising from its current 60% of GDP to 233% in 30 years, and 500% in 50 years.

Far, far better that we as a country bite the bullet now, while the debt is somewhat manageable, than to wait another generation until it reaches 233% or 500% of GDP, with our options being to monetize the debt or to default.

Debt reduction will take a shared sacrifice by all citizens, similar to the war effort that so defined our parents’ and grandparents’ generation during WWII.  Like the war effort, it must involve all levels of society, not just the wealthy.  And it will take leadership from the top — true leadership — to cut government spending.  That leadership will by necessity need to come from all three branches of government.

There is a groundswell of public opinion in this country, running across the political spectrum, demanding prudent debt reduction, and opposing government over-reach.

We need a balanced budget amendment — indeed, the Congress came within a single Senate vote of passing such an amendment in 1995, and again in 1997; and the House passed it both times by wide margins.

We also need a constitutional amendment that limits the size of the federal fisc relative to GDP, somewhere around 20%, or perhaps south of that (the average over the past 40 years is 18.2%).

The current addiction to spending — $3.5 trillion, at a time when tax revenue brings in just $2.1 trillion — is unconscionable.  Maybe it’s time to introduce the concept of sustainable government . . . . .

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed — “

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