Well the speech last night went just as expected, the same rhetoric,promises and great sounding pharses.Applause after applause from politicians sitting in congress.The speech is more like a pep rally than anything informative.That said let us look at some of the assumptions that the speech was based on and the responses that were given by the republicians and the tea party.
The president assumes that we can cut back on small spending over ten years and at the same time increase spending of what he believes is critical, the budget can be brought under control. He also assumes that by using smoke and mirrors he can show the voting public that he is serious about cutting spending and has like president Bill Cliton moved to the political center.Why smoke and mirrors, well the assumption that by saying he will veto any bill that includes earmarks,he is serious about cutting spending.What is unsaid is that the money for earmarks is already included in the various departmental budgets, All earmarks do is to specifiy how a portion of a departmental budget is to be spent.So no real cuts there.Smoke and mirrors.
Now what about the assumptions that the republican and tea party were making when they gave their response to the presidents speech.The assumption is a big one to say the least.That we can get to a balance budget through spending cuts alone, and once we have a balance budget all will be right with the world.They also assume that one way to get to a pernment balance buget is to admend the US Constitutionits to require the federal government to have a balance budget every year.Sounds good doesn't it, after all what is wrong with a balanced budget.On the face of it,it sounds good.Ok lets say that congress is going to draft an amendment requiring a balance budget.If the is some natural disaster that really impact the country,say something like a hurricane that hit the gulf cost states,or major flooding. or worst yet, we have to go to war? Were would the money come from if it is required we have a balanced budget.If they try to write these exceptions into the law it will look like swiss cheese, and would be worthless.It ingores the fact that since 1849 we have only have had 13 yers with a budget surplus.They also ignore the fact that if we cut all spending to get to a balance budget, we are doing nothing about the debt that is already on the books. The only thing that is build into the budget is the interest payment on the debt we already accrued.
So we have seen that the assumptions of getting rid of earmarks,spending cuts,and a balanced budget are fallacious,along with the idea of no new taxes.To pay down the debt will by definition require new taxes. The only questions is how much,whether all or only a certain segment of the population will be affected.The hue and cry is to make the rich pay more,and to leave the middle class and working poor and retirees alone.But the fact is if we tax the rich at 100%,it still would not really make a dent inpaying down the national debt.
We need to consider what the purpose of government is, and how we will insure that the government meets those obligation.There is a way that both sides can be satisfied.Can you guess what it is. I will give you a hint, it involves the entire nation and a targeted tax. I am not going to say what it is,thats not the purpose of this blog.It is to raise questions about our beliefs and our actions.So how do you think is the way out of the mess we find ourselfs in.Whatever your answer is, let you elected representives know.Who knows they may even listen.