In the current political climate, it may be too much to hope that politicians would use experience as a guide rather than blind ideology.
Both sides agree the current level of deficit spending is unsustainable. Every independent economist knows that it will take a mix of increased revenues and decreased spending to accomplish this.
However, as in humor, timing is everything. Great Britain, Ireland, Greece and Portugal have shown that large cuts in government spending during a recession makes things worse. We have proven that "trickle-down economics" does not work.
One cuts government spending when the economy is growing -- something the last three Republican presidents failed to do. Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes are responsible for $9 trillion of the $14 trillion debt.
Budget cuts must be phased in as the economy recovers and expands, as President Clinton did. Budget cuts must take into account which programs actually work to accomplish their stated goals.
For example, price supports no longer protect the almost-nonexistent family farmer; they just enrich the large corporate farms. They must also spare those programs that contribute to future growth such as education and scientific research.
Taxes will have to increase on both the upper and middle classes. Just as we expect the better-off members of our churches to bear more of the burden of paying for the programs and salaries, they also must assume more of the tax increases. No one will say that with the new taxes I'll make only 62 percent on my investment rather than 68 percent, so I won't create those new jobs.
If drastic tax cuts and deregulation actually worked, Texas would be leading the nation in economic growth and job creation.
Support politicians on both sides who tell us the truth, or nothing substantive will be done.