And if you have run low on crises, then create one. Let’s see how that might happen. Summer of 2010 and into the fall, fail to pass a budget bill for the fiscal year beginning 10/1/2010. In spite of being in control of Congress and the Executive. Even after November 2010 elections, when still in control until the new Congress convenes, let the matter continue to languish. Still no budget.
Fast-forward slowly to spring 2011. Need a crisis (for a host of reasons).
Complain of the lack of the current Congress taking care of business on the budget for the balance of 2011. Ignore the fact that the year is half gone and your own party had control of the entire legislative process — veto proof — until recently. Declare loudly, and with great conviction that “this is no way to run a government!” Gotta agree with that. Hasn’t been since last October and before.
Then, just to make sure the perception of a crisis continues, suggest a dollar amount of reduction for the rest of this year’s non-budget without specifying where to cut and criticize the specifics that the other party suggests. That ensures a continued deadlock, and therefore, a continued perception of crisis.
And have “someone” in the Senate decry the process of funding the government by one week extensions. After all, it’s no way to run a government. Hasn’t been since last October.
What a crock! Both political parties have been on a spending binge for decades. The “people” (remember us?) have said “no more.” Now the hard work must begin and only due to the backbone given the Republican party by the “Tea Partiers” is there a somewhat serious push to deal with our huge national debt and current deficit spending. The Democrats don’t want to talk in real terms and even a huge portion of the Republicans are not totally serious, except to the extent being motivated by the thought of being buried under tons of tea when the next ship comes into the electoral harbor.
Here is the real crisis: Democrats want to run an additional $9 trillion in deficits over the next decade while the Republicans want to REDUCE the debt by $6 trillion — they’re $15 trillion apart! That’s $15,000,000,000,000.
There certainly will be pain in many quarters if the deficit spending is to be curtailed, and the debt begin to be reduced — as it must. Let’s talk about an area of possible change that evokes a lot of emotion: medicare. What if medicare were to change requiring recipients to have to pay more of their cost? Since that and social security comprise the biggest areas of expenditure, those are areas of potential savings.
The question then becomes whether to reduce the benefits under those “sacred cows” or continue them as is and virtually assure that our grandchildren are thrown under the tax bus. Which is worse?
That catch-22 is the most graphic and understandable, but the question will have to be repeated many times over within the maze that is our government spending melange. Two very difficult things seem to me to be essential of consideration.
First, federal, state and local governments must re-examine priorities and severely cut in every area that is not an essential governmental function. Let’s face it, there are not very many essential governmental functions.
Second, the sacred cows must also be examined. This includes (gulp) national defense, social security, medicare, and all forms of welfare.
Simple principles. Focus, and get to work.