Balance We Can’t Believe In

A balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution has been floated before. Let me state emphatically that it’s a stupid idea. I’m all for conscientious spending of tax dollars but a balanced budget amendment means that in a time of national emergency (natural or man-made disaster) we could not spend the money required to address the emergency at hand unless we could balance the books in the process. But if there is one silver lining, we wouldn’t have had the two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) had there been a balanced budget amendment at the time.

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Budget Debate Nonsense

The current government budget debate is an argument over pennies instead of an adult conversation over dollars. This highlights a fundamental issue that it’s near impossible for people holding temp jobs (elected officials) to solve the really big, long term problems our country faces. There is no real talk about cuts to the big entitlement programs or tax increases to help solve our budget deficit because to do so is seen as political suicide. So instead politicians go after the low hanging fruit in the hopes that the “dumb” American public will be happy that something was done. Then those politicians can run a campaign in the next election saying they cut spending and didn’t raise your taxes. The budget items being discussed don’t amount to much in the way of savings. Cutting funding to public radio (or other low hanging fruit) equates to a family debating whether they should buy a name brand product over a store brand product when instead they really should be discussing whether they need a fancy car or that expensive tropical vacation. I think the real problem is that nobody is paying attention. The average person in this country doesn’t pay very much attention to government, politicians or much of anything that they don’t perceive to have a direct and immediate impact on their lives. Politicians know this and that’s why they go after the low hanging fruit because they know that most people only hear quick sound bites and then move on. So if they can say they cut spending and didn’t raise taxes, to the average citizen that sounds like a good deal and will then reward that politician with another term. There needs to be an awakening in this country. More people need to start paying closer attention to what is actually going on in this country and in the world.

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Why Are Tax Increases Not An Option?

To hear some people talk it seems like there’s always a good reason why taxes can’t be increased at any given time. Bring up the subject, there is sure to be a rebuttal proclaiming tax increases would harm the economy, etc. It wasn’t always this way. But right now we have a very vocal minority in this country that has been really good at pandering to all of us. Nobody wants their taxes increased so it’s a very easy position to take as a politician. But this position also lacks vision and leadership. It’s utterly arbitrary to say tax increases can never happen or that tax cuts are always a good thing. It requires no proof of the claim because the politician who says such things knows it’s a winning position with the public. I say somebody needs to grow a backbone and show some leadership even if it means potentially jeopardizing re-election. Somebody has to stand up and be the adult in the room.

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