Skip to comments.It's Now or Never
Posted on 07/17/2011 10:12:48 AM PDT by Kaslin
Another week has come and gone, and our government still cannot agree on a plan for addressing America's impending financial disaster. Each day, Wall Street and Main Street draw closer to the brink while the Poobahs on the Potomac concern themselves with political angles and public relations strategies. To say we are witnessing politics as usual is an understatement. What is occurring in Washington today is politics on steroids. The fact that our representatives have allowed the country's financial situation to deteriorate to this point is a testament to how out of touch with reality they are. Even now they seem to be operating under the deluded assumption that there is a painless path out of the financial quagmire America has gotten itself into.
We are in for a rude awakening.
Truth be told, it will be impossible to undo the damage that's been done to our government, our economy, and our culture without significant sacrifice, prolonged hardship, and a radical attitude adjustment. For too long we have plowed along with the casual arrogance of a spoiled teenager oblivious to our worsening condition, devoid of discipline, and utterly self-centered. We've suffered from a woeful inability to take the long view, preferring immediate satisfaction to delayed gratification, the fate of future generations be damned.
For us, just like for that teenager, it is inevitable that our insular universe will one day be shattered by the hard cold facts of reality. For many, that day has already come. The unemployment rate continues to hover at historic highs, many areas of the economy remain sluggish, and confidence in the U.S. dollar continues to weaken. If we don't get serious about our debt and deficit and get serious NOW there will be financial hell to pay. In many ways it is already too late. Hell is on the horizon and there can be no avoiding serious discomfort all the way around. At least, however, we are still at the point where we have the liberty to decide how we want to bite the bullet. Delay much longer and we run the danger of hitting the bottom so hard that recovery becomes impossible.
Dan Balz of the Washington Post gives President Obama some credit for taking both sides to task for their rigidity in the face of looming disaster. To fiscal conservatives, Obama insists that tax hikes must be part of any compromise. To liberals, he stresses the need to trim entitlement fat or run the risk of systemic program collapse. The President argues that in light of the fact that we have a divided government, some measure of compromise on taxes is critical to securing aggressive cuts in spending. There is no way, he maintains, that Senate Democrats will support a bill that does not include tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans.
The Democrats fixation with taxes notwithstanding, our current economic woes do not stem from the fact that Americans are not taxed sufficiently. We do not have a taxing problem, we have a spending problem. The root of our current economic woes is that we have been unwilling to live within our means. That is true for government and it is true for individuals. We have wanted it all and we have wanted it now whether we could afford it or not! To get it all, we have been willing to plunge into debt, mortgaging our future and the future of our children and their children. We have been in denial that our account would one day come due. Now our financial chickens are coming home to roost.
In pushing for tax hikes, Democrats seek to undermine the need for meaningful spending cuts and the adverse political consequences that would inevitably result. If we can generate new sources of revenue, they maintain, it will not be necessary to cut government spending as dramatically as would otherwise be required. That is undoubtedly true, but spending cuts are what we need. And in the current environment, nothing will quench the prospects of a financial turnaround quicker than taking more money out of the pockets of the American people. If we are to recover our financial footing, it will come by instituting fiscal discipline, tightening our belts and curbing spending. More taxes will not yield the desired result.
The time for political posturing and half-measures is over. The cancer has metastasized. We need radiation, chemo, and surgery. Unless we are willing to pursue a radical course of treatment we can kiss the American dream of yesteryear goodbye.
Excellent read and yes, we have been spoiled teenagers.... ALL OF US.
Closer to the brink of what?
I say we put such a bill on the floor of the Seante and see if that's true.
For folks not paying attention, the Dim strategy all along has been to avoid a vote in the Senate that is not "bipartisan".
There are at least 15 Dim Senators up for election in 2012 from Red or Swing states. They know that if they vote for cuts without taxes their base will abandon them. They also know that if they vote for taxes without Republicans, the middle will abandon them.
Their ONLY hope is a "bipartisan deal".
Those Senate Democrats is what this fight is all about in Washington.
Am I the only one here that thinks SS has to go?
I suppose in any event, Grandpa and Grandma better get on good terms with their kids, since they will be asking them for support. That money from SS will run out sooner then they think.
Why is there a $255 death benefit?? I’m sure that was not in the orignal plan. The paperwork alone is not worth it.
The Grand Compromise of 1986 is going to collapse.
Under the terms of that compromise, the GOP could have its low taxes, and the Democrats could print and borrow to spend as much as they wanted.
Both parties are guilty, it's unclear which one is worse.
The Republicans under Bush caved first, and agreed to massive increases in spending, on unconstitutional programs like NCLB and Medicare Part D.
Republican tax policy became so incoherent that people here were actually arguing for lower tax rates BECAUSE THEN THE GOVERNMENT COULD SPEND MORE.
In 1978-1986, it was plausible that lower taxes would "starve the beast" and force government to shrink.
Howard Jarvis grew up with hard money, as did I. We did not realize that the Congress and the Fed could expand the money supply without limit as they have done since 1986.
The Jarvis-Stockman hypothesis that constraining taxes could limit government has been decisively disproven by events in the real world.
It is necessary now to focus directly on spending, and not taxes.
And the "free" spending of 1986-2008 is (still) enormously popular, and attacking it is going to be quite risky.
At the end of the day, it's not taxes OR spending that's the problem. It's that we don't have constitutional money.
Until we have real money again, our problems are insolvable.
There are lots of things that need to go, including SS. Right now everyone needs to accept less than what they were promised, seniors currently on SS included. But before they cut for those who did pay into the system, cut for those who did not and cut foreign aid. Families/friends need to step up to the plate and take care of each other.
How long have you been collecting Social Security?
I can tell you aren’t on SS. After you have been forced to pay in for 42 years come back and tell me you don’t want the payment you were promised. Social security is not voluntary. The American workforce are not a bunch of parasites. What you receive is not enough to live on anyway. It has to be supplemented by additional income.
The folks on Social security at this time need to be left alone.
Social Security needs to be reformed or done away with and privatized retirement accounts substituted. But it needs to be phased in starting with about age 45 and under. Those are the people who have time to build up some other type of retirement account.
kabar, time to come over here and rip those of us getting Social Security benefits for just wanting to get back what we paid in.
Before Social Security goes in America, we'll first halt subsidizing socialism in Western Europe and other parts of the world by trimming our post-Cold War international interventions.
I am 54 and have paid into the system since age 16. THERE WILL BE NO SS FOR ME. Dang the people that think they should be able to live off SS. IT WAS NOT DESIGNED FOR THAT.
Our country is going to go down if we all don’t stop being so selfish.
Before Social Security goes in America, we’ll first halt subsidizing socialism in Western Europe and other parts of the world by trimming our post-Cold War international interventions.
I’ve taken a lot of arrows in the back for supporting the abolishment of SS and Medicare.
They need to be replaced with a disability-only program. No age testing at all after 18. If someone literally can not work and can’t be supported by family or friends they need to be able to live. Means testing would be required though.
About the only entitlement programs I support are unemployment benefits between jobs and disability. Anything else is socialism and welfare. And unemployment is a bad enough evil.
Selfishness is good. Ayn Rand wrote a book about the virtue of selfishness.
“I am 54 and have paid into the system since age 16. THERE WILL BE NO SS FOR ME. Dang the people that think they should be able to live off SS. IT WAS NOT DESIGNED FOR THAT.”
Don’t be ridiculous. You sound like an hysterical old woman. You will get your social security. All of the plans to fix social security are for people younger than you.
Don’t be ridiculous. There is no money!
OK I guess you are screwed. Just keep working and paying in so I continue to get my check. Thanks for contributing.
Article quotes another source giving credit to Obama, without saying one way or another. Therefore the author is part of the problem.
As for the opening lines - it’s going to take brains and determination to survive this catastrophe, neither of which this nation produces in signficant quantities.
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