The federal budget mess is reaching dangerous levels. As the politicians continue to debate the same old issues of more cuts vs. more taxes, the debate is moving further and further away from seriousness and is devolving back into politics as usual.
Hopefully politics as usual can be avoided, because the debt crisis is real
, and it's coming to a head.
I don't know how many times I've pointed to the example of Greece, but it continues to be a relevant example of why it's important for the United States to rein in our debt and move toward responsible government. Greece, with all of its strikes and riots, is perhaps the best example of what's to come for the United States and other nations across the Western world if we put off reform for too long.
Greece isn't the only nation in Europe to experience strikes, protests and riots. England recently went through some fairly large protests over college tuition increases, and is currently going through strikes of public sector workers. France has been experiencing riots and protests for some time now, for various reasons.
The problem is, the Left keeps on fronting the illusion that we can get out of our debt problems and live happily ever after if we would only levy higher taxes on the rich. President Obama has been on the class-warfare warpath, decrying the evils of "corporate jet owners." The problem is, the tax increases the Democrats are seeking would only be a drop in the bucket when compared to the massive entitlements they're asking American taxpayers to cover.
And this is the problem throughout the West: we have built a society based on entitlements. The message all too often gets lost in translation, because "entitlement" is such a buzz-word in modern politics, but that's exactly what too many people feel about government programs: they feel entitled. Just look at the recent protests by public employee union members in Wisconsin. There is nothing in the Constitution or American law to suggest that public employees have the right to collective bargaining. There is nothing in American history to justify government workers making higher wages and receiving better benefits than the average worker, yet the moment the government starts following the people's wishes and begins to govern responsibly, the unions erupt in protest, the liberal icons show up to get some face-time in the media, and the victim mentality goes into full-swing, and over what? The requirement that government workers pay just a little bit of their paychecks toward their pensions and benefits so the state doesn't go broke.
Because to the Left, maintaining the entitlement state is more important than the financial health of their state, or the nation.
Now the elephants and the donkeys are once again fighting over raising the debt limit. The Republicans either don't want to raise the debt limit, or only want to raise the debt limit if the hike is tied to legislation requiring greater fiscal responsibility. The Democrats are fear-mongering, saying that if we don't raise the debt limit, the nation will default. Through it all, they both continue to point fingers at the other side.
But the truth is...
...it doesn't matter whose fault it is - and there is plenty of fault to go around. Our nation's debt has been growing for decades, under both parties. The question shouldn't be "whose fault is it," and instead should be "what's the best way to fix it."
Should we raise taxes on the rich? This is the go-to solution the Democrats are always throwing out there, so let's take it seriously: will taxing the rich solve our debt problem?
Unfortunately for the Left, the answer is no.
The story that no one seems to tell is that when it comes to tax cuts for the rich, the verdict is in...and it has been for some time. The idea has been tried several times, and contrary to what the Democrats keep preaching, cutting taxes for the wealthy actually increases
government revenues. It worked when Calvin Coolidge was president, it worked when John F. Kennedy was president, it worked when Ronald Reagan was president, it worked when George W. Bush was president...yet the Democrats continue to demonize a strategy that has worked every time it has been tried.
Cutting spending, on the other hand, is a strategy that hasn't really been given a chance - the Left tends to raise hell even if their opponents just propose a decrease in the rate of growth of one of their precious entitlement programs. Our government has grown and grown and grown, and now it is an overblown, bloated mess of bureaucracy and waste. Government has been one of the biggest growth industries in America. Government employees enjoy higher salaries, better benefits, and more job security than private sector workers, but it doesn't just extend to government work. We've got welfare, Medicare, food stamps, unemployment, Social Security...there's a government program for whatever ails you. A report released last weekend by the Obama administration shows that each job created by the president's stimulus program cost over $270,000. No wonder we're facing a debt crisis.
So when it comes to the question of "what's the best way to fix it," it should be quite obvious that sustaining unsustainable spending is not the answer. Fear-mongering over raising the debt ceiling won't help us solve our debt problems, and will only lead to yet another debate over raising the debt ceiling yet again in a few months or years, while all of the evidence shows that cutting government spending and keeping tax rates in check will at least start us down the road to recovery.
Maybe instead of debating back and forth over taxing the rich to subsidize poverty, our politicians should simplify the tax code. Our system of progressive income taxes has become less of a tool to generate revenue, and more of a political tool used by the political elite to garner favor with their political donors or their favored voting bloc. After all, when the news comes out that General Electric didn't pay a dime in taxes after making billions in revenue not long after the news broke that the CEO of GE was given a high-ranking position in the Obama administration, it looks pretty suspicious, regardless of whether something nefarious was or wasn't actually going on.
We have abandoned government of, by, and for the people. Today, the people live and work at the pleasure of the government. The era of the public servant is over - the people are now ruled by the government elites. When the idea that all wealth belongs to the government and a tax break constitutes a government expenditure, it becomes painfully clear that the American experiment is failing. So the next time President Obama, or any other politician starts talking about the "failed policies of the past," take a good, hard look at their record - chances are, despite their finger-pointing, they are actively advocating the very failed policies that have brought our nation to its current state. It's high time that we stop talking about hope and change and really try something that we haven't tried before
, like responsible, accountable government.
How about it?