Kunst: Spending must come under control
Ryan Summerlin October 22, 2012
Our national debt exceeds 16 trillion dollars – an obscene number that most Americans could not write out using Arabic numerals. It is our debt; yours’ and mine. It is our responsibility to cover this debt. It is not the individual responsibility of members of Congress or the president to satisfy this debt. Their fair share is no greater than our share. With a current US population of 312 million, each one of us, rich and poor, owe $51,300 to the nation’s Treasury. Do we have any concern or sense of shame that we saddle each newborn U.S. citizen with a $51,000 debt to our government?
Other than a Republican call to repeal or substantially revise Obama Care, neither party is offering concrete plans to reduce our debt. The reason is clear: debt reduction starts with cuts in current spending and entitlements – a concept that politicians are loathe to specify for fear of losing votes from government dependent folks who have been unwittingly conditioned to use the nation’s Treasury as their personal piggy bank.
I am convinced that four more years of the current administration will only add to our economic woes, if not completely crush us. Why? (1) Four years ago the president promised to cut spending and reduce our then $11 trillion debt by half. Instead, he has spent and added $5 trillion more to our debt. (2) Rather than focus on the economy, he spent the first two years promoting Obama Care, a program so sweeping in scope and costs that it will impose immediate tax consequences on all Americans when it becomes effective after 2014. These are not taxes that will be applied to our national debt. These new taxes will pay for universal health care only and be imposed on all Americans regardless of their wealth status. (3) The Democrats’ current attack ads follow a year long theme that focuses on emotional issues and programs that Republicans want to thoroughly analyze in order to eliminate waste, corruption and redundant spending; i.e., the so-called war on “women’s health,” green energy, food stamps, Obama phones, and education. These programs have and will continue to cost us billions of dollars with dubious returns or justifiable social improvements.
How do we pay for all of these programs and still reduce the debt? The Obama solution is simple and he has said it repeatedly on the campaign trail, in his personal ads and during the debate: “We will ask the wealthy to pay a little more to invest in these programs and reduce our debt.” The latest IRS data I could find comes from 2007, a year in which we were still prosperous. In short, taxpayers in the top 10 percent earned 48 percent of total income but paid 71 percent of the revenue collected by the IRS. Today, almost 50 percent of U.S. wage earners pay no taxes. I cannot find how many people comprise this top 10 percent, but let us assume it is 10 million taxpayers, an optimistic number. To pay down the national debt, these taxpayers’ “little bit” share is $1.6 million each or $160,000 per year if paid over the next ten years and assuming that spending and interest accrual does not increase. That will never happen and practical people understand it. Practical people also realize that each of us will have to account for the nation’s debt whether it is through higher taxes or a reduction in entitlements or both. We are ready to share in the sacrifice. But, spending must come under control.
Obama has shown no inclination to seriously address debt reduction and his proposed solutions are not realistic. Thus, if you honestly believe that we can continue to afford all of these incentive killing, government dependency programs and automobiles that run on glucose or algae while dumping the full $16,000,000,000,000 debt on the top ten percent of the nation’s wage earners, vote for Obama. If you believe Obama’s plan and promises are akin to chasing snake oil and fairy tales, vote for the other candidate.