Where have I been?
I'm slightly embarrassed to make note that it has been more than two years since my last post here! I never, ever intended that.
I look back to see what concerned me two and four years ago. I found it interesting to note that I'm still really concerned about the same things. The direction this country is going, primarily.
Late last night (New Year's Eve), the US Senate passed a financial bill to raise our taxes. Tonight, the House of Representatives also voted to make it law.
Some weird things about this.
First, as specified in our Constitution, all tax/spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives. Unless I misunderstand this really a lot, this one originated in the Senate, with final negotiations being completed by former Senator, now Vice-President, Joe Biden, and Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell.
Second, the "budget" is normally proposed by the President and introduced into the House, as a beginning point. This President hasn't proposed a budget nor had one introduced for the past three years of his reign.
Third, some provisions had already been put into place last year to force some cuts in spending to take place 1/1/13 if Congress did not act to avert them. This has been called "The Fiscal Cliff", since the cuts were drastic and the tax increases severe.
Fourth, the entire world has known for more than a year that we were driving closer and closer to this "cliff", and everyone waited until past the last minute to get this negotiated and done!!
Our President even scheduled a family vacation, half a world away from his office, during these negotiations.
I don't know how this strikes you, but it really bothers me a lot!!
The thing that bothers me most is that what was done over this holiday actually increased taxes and spending and didn't address our mounting, dangerous budget in the least. In fact, it adds to what we owe!
Our national debt passed $16-TRILLION back during September and is rapidly approaching $17-trillion.
I borrowed the following from
Danielle Kurtzleben, an editorial writer for US News . . .
In 2012, the U.S. will spend around $220 billion in net interest on
its debt, according to the Congressional Budget Office — a figure that
is expected to spiral ever higher in coming years.
Erskine Bowles, a co-chair of the president's bipartisan
deficit-reduction commission known as "Simpson-Bowles," has called the
nation's compound interest burden one of the biggest long-term challenges facing the United States.
"We'll be spending over $1 trillion a year on interest by 2020.
That's $1 trillion we can't spend to educate our kids or to replace our
badly worn-out infrastructure," said Bowles at a recent forum hosted by
IHS Global Insight. "What makes it doubly bad is that trillion will be
spent principally in Asia, because that's where our debt is."
Given that most Americans' financial dealings tend to be on a much
smaller scale, those multi-billion-dollar totals can be enough to make a
layperson's eyes glaze over. Here is a comparison of how the nation's
interest spending compares to spending in other areas.
If something good doesn't happen first, there will come a point, easily within the lifetimes of our children, when the amount we must pay each year will be more than all the taxes we can possibly collect. It's so close to that point now that anything unforeseen -- even a "minor" war -- could send out country into deep financial crisis and failure. We don't even want to think about the results of that. Many in our beloved country would not survive!
I'm asking you to do more than vote!!
I'm asking you, if you don't already know your representative in Congress well enough to speak to him/her the next time they come home to the district, GET TO KNOW THEM. Quickly!! Write, text, email, call. Next time you get a chance, meet that person face to face and tell them they MUST reduce spending.
It's not merely a "slogan". It's the absolute truth. The only way to get out of the mess our country's in is to REDUCE SPENDING. It's going to hurt some. It will undoubtedly hurt some a lot! But, like the family who gets more debt than they can pay, something must be done, even if it is painful. It's the only way to survive.
You and I probably have programs that we like. We'll be tempted to say, "Cut somewhere else. Don't cut MY favorite program!" But, every program and government department should be negotiable.
A few examples:
The Department of Education. In my opinion, the Federal Government should not be involved in education in the first place. We should eliminate the entire Department. Likely it would cause some chaos to do it overnight, but it could be reduced to nothing over a four or five year planned phase-out.
First, I'd eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, then, Education. I'll not explain why EPA. That would take more space than I have left.
Those are two departments. There are others.
Eliminate ALL subsidies.
I know you may "have a dog in this hunt." Many do.
I hear many of my more "progressive" friends yelling loudly, "Eliminate oil company subsidies!"
I agree! BUT . . . I believe we should eliminate ALL subsidies, including what we pay former President Carter NOT to grow peanuts. (Actually, I really don't know that the Carter Farm gets subsidies, but many, many peanut "farmers" do!) Same with soybeans, and on and on!! I say, stop every one of them.
Stop subsidizing "green industry"! IF green industry is a good idea, let private enterprise alone. If it's good, someone will find a way to make it profitable. (Actually, I plan a short blog shortly, to propose a workable, renewable energy model. The one we've been pouring money into will not work, even if technology is "perfected"!)
Then, we should wind down all foreign aid. Where we have a need to bolster an ally to help us defend ourselves, then some form of foreign aid seems justified. But, supporting people and governments who hate and are trying their best to destroy us doesn't make any sense to me at all!
Anyway, I'm back.
I'll try to post more often from now own.
I may not know all the answers. Shucks, I don't even know all the questions, but we'll kick around a few, anyway!