The deficit that is run by the federal government is always a contentious topic. Pretty much everyone agrees that it is generally a bad idea to try and run a country while six-feet below the financial waters.
It is important to note, though, that there actually is no concrete plan to deal with the present $1.1 trillion budget deficit.
The debate over what to do about the deficit has drawn the usual finger pointing and blame depositing scumbaggery that you would expect from a deeply divided Congress.
Congressional Republicans accuse the President and Congressional Democrats of not working with them, in favor of a perceived witch hunt of the wealthy.
“Instead of threatening to drive us off the fiscal cliff and tank our economy in their quest for higher taxes, I would urge President Obama and congressional Democrats to work with us,” said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), in a prepared statement.
Democrats were quick to respond. Top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) stated “Republicans in Congress refuse to enact the president’s plan, choosing instead to protect special interests and tax breaks for the wealthiest.”
Basically, this is a political hot potato that both parties are trying to dump squarely at the others feet.
Given the dismal track record of both Republicans and Democrats in the cooperation department during the past few years, the American people should not really expect to see any sort of meaningful compromise any time soon.
This is bad, because there are a number of things that need to happen in order for the country to claw its way back out of the dismal pit of debt that we have fallen into.
For instance, the war in Afghanistan and the combat operations in Iraq need to end permanently. War is expensive, especially so when the government is not trying to sell us war bonds or asking us to suffer a wartime tax. Both of these would have helped offset the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and probably would have also kept our deficit under a trillion dollars.
Also, taxes are going to have to go up. I will just go ahead and say it knowing full well that this is never going to happen.
No politician in their right mind will say the words “tax” and “increase” in the same sentence, unless they were accusing someone else of doing it.
The mere suggestion of a tax hike sends the average U.S. citizen into paroxysms of rage, which is always bad in an election year.
That being said, raising taxes generates more revenue for the government, which in turn drives down the deficit and can also be helpful in driving down the public debt as well.
You are not going to see either party doing this (obviously). They have constituents to please so that they can get re-elected, and therein lies the problem with any substantive effort to pay off the deficit.
Deficit reduction is a bitter pill to swallow. There is nothing pleasant or easy about it. Which is precisely the reason why the American public is not serious about deficit reduction.
It will be a cold day in hell when you see a Tea Partier arguing for a smaller defense budget. It will be an even colder day when you see a Progressive admitting that there are some welfare programs that need to see cuts in order to pay off the debt.
And if the American public is not interested, then the politicians are not interested either. Ultimately, the public is responsible for getting the politicians elected. They do not get an office unless we tell them they can have an office.
If anything is to be done about the deficit, we the people have to be serious about it and vote accordingly. The buck stops with us, so it is time to buck up and get serious about this issue.
No more miniscule cuts like defunding NASA or PBS. No more complaining that taxes are too high when they are actually at the lowest they have been in 30 years. The deficit is a problem, and it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. So let’s get on this, because it will only get worse from here.
Caleb Hendrich is a senior Political Science and Journalism double major. His columns appear Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to email@example.com.