Jane Chastain is a Southern California-based broadcaster, author and political commentator. Despite her present emphasis on politics, Jane always will be remembered as the nation's first female TV sportscaster, spending 17 years on the sports beat. Jane blogs at JaneChastain.com. She is a pilot who lives on a private runway.More ↓Less ↑
There are certain words that are overused in Washington. They have proven effective in covering a multitude of sins and soothing an angry electorate: These words include “compromise,” “bipartisan,” “comprehensive” and “deficit reduction.”
The beauty of using these words in Washington is that there is no expectation by lawmakers that they be grounded in reality. The “comprehensive immigration reform,” during the administration of George W. Bush was the code for amnesty. Before that, we had back-to-back “five hundred billion dollar deficit reduction” bills for George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Both of these bills had nothing to do with reducing the deficit and everything to do with getting out from under the constrains of the current budget. They were designed to increase, not decrease, federal spending.
Now we have this new word, “balanced,” trotted out by Barack Obama. On Monday, he used it seven times in his brief address to the nation. It is designed to make us feel comfortable about raising the debt limit, again, because we have maxed out the national credit card.
Currently, we are adding $1.5 trillion a year to our national debt, which has topped $14 trillion. The U.S. is currently overspending to the tune of $4 billion a day, $168 million every hour or $2 million every minute. This cannot continue!
The balanced approach Obama keeps talking about leaves the nation’s books unbalanced for as far as the eye can see. Obama claimed the plan he was working on with House Speaker John Boehner would have reduced the deficit by $4 trillion. We do not know what he would cut because he never put a plan out there.
The only real plan to raise the deb ceiling that was offered up to this point was offered by Republicans, “Cut, Cap and Balance.” It has the support of 66 percent of the American people, but the Democrat-controlled Senate won’t bring it up for a vote. Why? Obama’s afraid it will pass.
The mythical plan the president is taking about reduces the deficit – the amount of our overspending – not the overall debt we are racking up.
For far too many years, the game in Washington has been to talk about reducing the deficit on a budget that is not grounded in reality and is laid out as if money were no object. The figure given seems large because it covers a 10-year period with little or no cuts coming right away. When the years roll by and it comes time to cut, our presidents and lawmakers – surprise, surprise – throw out the current budget and opt for a new one that includes more cuts down the road that never happens. ENOUGH!
The only way to stop overspending and start paying down this enormous national debt is to cut the budget now, not five years from now, not 10 years from now. Furthermore, we must reform entitlements. Anyone who tells you anything different is being disingenuous.
In fiscal year 2011, mandatory federal spending – the things we have put on automatic pilot and refused to touch – is going to surpass total federal revenue for the first time ever.
The “balanced” approach President Obama is talking about means raising taxes – giving Washington more money so it can go right on overspending. He promises that 98 percent of Americans will see no tax increase at all. He wants to increase taxes on corporations and those making more than $250,000 a year.
Are we going to fall for this again? Corporations and small businesses filing as individuals do not pay taxes. These taxes are passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices, which means average people wind up with less.
Unfortunately, the new bills created in the House and the Senate to raise the debt ceiling will not solve our current situation. Although they do not call for the new taxes Obama requested, the spending cuts they propose are mostly smoke and mirrors. Reid’s plan claims cuts from winding down the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The latest Boehner plan contains a only $22 billion in cuts for FY 2012, which would cover our overspending for a mere five and a half days.
We need a solution to this problem like “Cut, Cap and Balance,” not a deal that is achieved by compromise, which, in Washington, means business as usual. That’s what the American people should be demanding when they call their representatives.
According to the Constitution, all spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives. It may be only half of one-third of the government, but that’s a lot of responsibility … and power! It’s time the speaker of the House started using it.