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Let the ‘mature conversation’ start pre-stimulus (11/21/2010)
By John Edstrom

While he was in Asia last week, President Obama’s bipartisan commission on dealing with the deficit and national debt came forward with its recommendations. These numbers are $13.7 trillion in national debt in 2010 (up from $10 trillion in 2008) and a $1.5 trillion yearly deficit in 2010 (up from $454 billion in 2008). It is hard to imagine such numbers, let alone comprehend them. Suffice it to say that their trajectory will put this nation into bankruptcy soon, and unimaginable chaos.

The bipartisan commission’s recommendations are quite incredible in themselves, just some of which are deep cuts in domestic and military spending, a $.15 per gallon increase in the federal gas tax, elimination of the mortgage interest and employer health insurance deductions, a 10% decrease in the federal work force, and hikes in social security taxes coupled with benefit cuts.

Virtually everyone weighing in on the subject adopts a very solemn tone and proclaims the commission’s recommendations a very good place to start a mature and adult conversation about making a “shared sacrifice.”

I am of the strong opinion the job of getting this nation’s finances back on a sane footing can and should be done solely by cutting back on government spending, and government itself, the sole author of this mess. If not sufficiently cut back and pruned, it will surely be left with the resources to bring us back to this sorry pass again soon.

However, a consensus has to be found, and it is a fact of life that there is a powerful constituency for every imaginable government service to be financed with tax dollars paid by someone else.

So I would enter into a debate about how some revenue might be raised to forestall such-and-such cuts in government services, programs and functions, but only on one condition: the discussion must start with pre-stimulus numbers, and cannot take responsibility for one nickel’s worth of Obamacare.

It is now plain that most if not all of the nearly $1 trillion in stimulus spending went to the government itself and the public workforce. This has to be given back in the form of wage and hiring freezes, workforce cutbacks, and the elimination of programs that were enhanced or funded fresh. The public thoroughly repudiated the stimulus and Obamacare, both of which were slammed through the last congress in plain knowledge that there was no utility in nor support for them.

The stimulus in particular benefitted only the government classes who pay in a fraction of what they take out and cannot, therefore, be called taxpayers. It will in no way be “mature” to discuss how their gains can be consolidated with new taxes raised from a private sector electorate that didn’t support or participate in any benefit from them.

The electorate threw out the bums who got us into this mess. The new Congress would betray its trust stupidly by assuming any responsibility to pay for it, anymore than a traveler need take responsibility to pay for damage done to his hotel room by the derelict who trashed it the night before.




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