By James Gerdeman Based on his book “Constitution Commandments”
We want our politicians to be above board. They should be the epitome of brave, reverent, honest, good and smart too. They should show us solutions to real problems and should articulate the virtues of each others’ programs. Using financial terms like “squealing pigs” or “holding hostage” does not address the problem. They should be fiscally responsible and never make jokes about the finances of our country. Perhaps they all failed basic arithmetic.
It is easier for the head of the family to see fiscal responsibility while earning money and paying the bills. This is an equation that is usually quickly understood. Today’s families require two incomes. There is a budget for the household including food, mortgage or rent, heat, AC, fun and so forth. There are basic needs to consider. You work to pay the bills and eliminate luxuries during tough times. For example recreational golfers would play golf fewer times or not at all. You stretch the dollar and tighten the belt and unfortunately this becomes the norm.
In our government, this process is somewhat upside down. Politicians try to provide the frills so that they can be reelected. “Frills First” is their motto. Some people call it pork. They also get pushed into providing other programs for people and because they do, we all get into financial problems. They live day to day, much like families, but they make decisions that are more damaging. Government tends to spend more than they have, borrow more than they should and pay back less than is required. They do little to get out of debt and hit the throttle to spend, spend, spend.
Congress and the President over the next several months will try to show they are fiscally responsible. They will throw darts at each other to point out the incompetence of their opponents. Congress works for Americans but they find it better to destroy their constituency rather than work responsibly. In fact, some Congressmen have already pointed out Americans are radical. They say Tea Party Members are radical. It is as if to say “We do not need to be fiscally responsible. That is radical.” “We have a precedence to spend more than we have and that is accepted as the norm.” The petty fights should not be directed at the public. Politicians should not be allowed to declare their position as best. They should prove it.
We often hear Senatorial and Congressional leaders talk about a theoretical bad of the “other” side but never hear substantive detail about either plan. In the past few weeks we have heard that one party is holding the other party at gun point. What we should hear is that one proposal offers cuts in specific departments. It cuts the Affordable Care Act because it is not affordable and places a huge burden on the people. We the people were told these burdens would not happen. They should compare costs and benefits and downsides of proposals from Democrats and Republicans. The economy is not strong. We must solve that.
We are living during hard times. There are fewer jobs, a rising population, less money and more debt. This situation would give rational people an opportunity to make changes. As an example, budgets submitted have had a history of projecting deficit spending far into the future. This projection is given even when revenues are shown to grow. They project spending more. Politicians cannot handle the thought of a balanced budget or a dramatically reduced budget for the anemic economy. Do not spend on frills but keep the government running. After all, the Constitution only asks for a military to protect us. So keep us safe and dramatically reduce all other functions.
Congress has also delivered unwanted programs like Social Security in which recipients had contributed funding of their own. Medicare and Medicaid fall into that category as well. So keep these going and the military and dramatically cut the rest. How about government employees get cuts (Except Military) to fill up the Social Security Lock Box? But that is something politicians refuse to discuss.
They live in a world where they get something passed like a debt ceiling hike or a continuing resolution to fund government and then go to business as usual. Where is the creative thinking and open debate to solve our problems? Where are the pinpoint programs to reduce spending? When America’s credit rating was reduced one member of the Super Committee said it was not because the debt ceiling was raised. He said it was because the citizens wanted fiscal responsibility. He must come from another planet. The President was quoted as saying a higher debt ceiling does not lead to more debt. Even heads of households know that unlimited debt turns into unmanageable payments to service the debt. So demand the whole story. Get the details. Stop the political arguments and get solution oriented. Stop acting irresponsibly.