Stop spending, start cutting

Despite government's assertion, money isn't always the answer

If your family was busting its budget every month, you’d have two options: increase revenues or cut expenses. In fact, you’d be crazy not to consider both.

So why is our federal government perfectly, solidly and utterly incapable or unwilling to cut spending?

And why is it that Democrats in Washington seem to have an anaphylactic reaction to spending cuts? Why is it that the only way to fix the federal deficit, in their minds, is to throw more of our money at it?

Why aren’t spending cuts ever part of the equation?

The answer, of course, is that the Democratic approach to budget deficits is a purely political one, not at all related to math or logic: They simply think it looks good and energizes their base to whip folks up into a fever and storm the castle to tax the rich.

At least one poll says it’s not working.

Contrary to Barack Obama’s populist war cry to tax the “rich,” a McClatchy-Marist poll says most Americans want the so-called Bush tax cuts extended for everyone – including those earning over $250,000. Perhaps surprisingly, that sentiment is strongest among the youngest voters, ages 18-29 – who want the tax cuts extended by a whopping margin of 69 to 29 percent.

If we had a president who was more balanced, and actually proposed cutting some serious spending for a change – as he promised to do “line item by line item” – then support for higher taxes might have been greater.

But Washington’s answer for everything is more money, not more discipline or sanity. Why should any of us invest in such an unexamined rathole?

It’s not as if it would be a great big job to come up with spending cuts, either. Reports in recent years have cited hundreds of billions in pure waste. And there are plenty of other programs that duplicate what the states are already or private sector could be doing – which, you might have heard, is actually supposed to be the law of the land (Amendment 10: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”)

Entire shelves of books have been written on how the federal government could be streamlined. Entire think tanks have been built upon the need to reduce government, as well as the search for how to accomplish it.

The truth is, we will never see such sanity again in our nation’s capital until we have term limits.

Careerism has taken over Congress like a parasite consumes its host. Our “leaders” use our tax money, and more that they borrow from China and elsewhere, to keep us happy and chubby-faced, without any regard for what it’s doing to our bottom line or to future generations. Lobbyists have lots of great ideas for how to spend all that money, and they lavish gifts and campaign contributions on members of Congress to help them see things their way.

The system, in short, is now designed to overspend our ability to fund it.

This is not the system our founders envisioned. They clearly believed service in Washington would be just that: service. Citizens taking time out of their lives and vocations to serve the public for a limited time, only to return home and back to their private lives. Not staying in Washington to feather one’s nest over decades.

Eventually we’ll have to amend our Constitution to put a more secure lock on the Treasury. Until then, the best we can do is try to populate Washington with more fiscally sane – and less self-indulgent – leaders.

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