That echo from the early 90’s is bouncing off the fiscal wall again. It’s just much worse this time. The co-chairmen of President Obama’s debt and deficit commission gave an ominous assessment of the nation’s fiscal future, calling current budgetary trends a cancer “that will destroy the country from within” unless checked by tough action in Washington.
That we are headed for an economic calamity, unless drastic changes take place, is not a right-wing talking point. No amount of hope will change this picture. It will affect us all unless we take steps to live within our means.
Blaming W for this is getting old and, does not solve the problem. Nor does it justify increasing the debt from $1.3 trillion to $13-20 trillion over the next ten years like this Congress has done.
Let’s recognize one fact about this debt that Obama inherited. It was proposed and passed by a Democrat controlled Congress. Recall that Democrats took control of Congress in 2006. And it is Congress that makes all tax and spending legislation. They, Obama included, voted for every dollar of this debt that they have been blaming Bush for. In fact, they continually complained that he wasn’t spending enough. That Gawd awful prescription drug entitlement program and his doubling the size of government was not enough for the then minority party. If they are sincere in their blaming Bush for his spending now, please show me the news accounts of Democrats urging Bush to use his veto pen. But I digress.
This graph, supplied by The White House Office of Management and Budget clearly shows that at present, current federal revenue (for those educated in government schools, that means the sum of all taxes) is fully consumed by just three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, veterans, you name it, — the whole rest of the discretionary budget is borrowed from China and other countries.
See anything there that you want to eliminate or cut back? Living within our means necessitates that we find things here to eliminate or cut back. For starters, ‘means testing’ should apply in every entitlement program. Walter Williams talks to this calamity too in his piece What Handouts To Cut?
This debt is too large for the country to grow out of and there is not enough economic activity to eliminate it even if the IRS tax rate was 100%. That should tell you that adding a VAT (Value Added Tax) isn’t the answer either. On the contrary, adding or increasing taxes will only further depress the economy and increase the jobless population. Is there any doubt that this is what candidate Obama meant when he said he wanted to fundamentally change America?