The budget agreement that passed the House last week shows that Republicans and Democrats can readily agree upon borrowing to spend. Speaker Boehner constantly cautions: "Spending is the problem."
Spending is no problem.
Speaker Boehner's solution of "cutting spending" involves cutting approved programs, cutting spending that the majority has approved but the minority still oppose. Raising revenues is the acid test in government for new programs and a pledge against taxes is to avoid the acid test; avoid responsibility.
The deficit for fiscal year 2013 was $680 billion.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "The deal also includes measures that would cut the deficit by $85 billion over the next ten years, for a net deficit reduction of about $23 billion, compared with current law, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office."
After laboring for months, all the conferees could agree upon was to cut a $680 billion deficit a measly $2.3 billion a year for 10 years.
This means Republicans and Democrats have agreed to borrow and spend another $6 trillion in the next 10 years.
The United States paid for all its wars, depressions, recessions, etc., and it took over 200 years to finally reach a $1 trillion national debt in 1981.
In 1983, Republicans and Democrats joined together to balance Social Security's budget.
In 1985, Republicans and Democrats joined together in Gramm-Rudman-Hollings to cut spending.
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush broke his pledge against raising taxes and agreed to join with Democrats to increase taxes in an effort to balance the budget.
In 1993, Democrats cut spending $250 billion and increased taxes $250 billion, without a single Republican vote in the House or Senate. That gave President George W. Bush a balanced budget in 2001.
Since 2001, Republicans and Democrats have cut taxes, started wars, added prescription drugs to Medicare, stimulated, and bailed out, all without paying for them - by borrowing, spending and increasing the national debt $12 trillion. Now they intend to borrow and spend another $6 trillion over 10 years.
Borrowing doesn't cost, they say, with low interest rates.
But increasing the debt has already increased interest costs $415 billion a year.
The Federal Reserve is preparing to stop stimulating the economy $85 billion a month. Interest rates will increase and before long Republicans and Democrats in Congress will be forced to borrow and spend $1 trillion in interest costs. Absolute waste!
The United States is a growing country. The population increases; health costs increase; retirement costs increase; defense costs increase - the government gets bigger.
Members of Congress avoid their responsibility when they say they are against big government and fail the acid test of increasing taxes or revenues for their programs.
Spending is not the problem.
Borrowing is the problem.
Creating waste is the problem.
Avoiding responsibility is the problem.
Ernest F. Hollings, a Democrat, was governor of South Carolina from 1959-63, and served in the U.S. Senate from 1966-2005.
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