published Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Path back to fiscal sanity

Tennesseans are most fortunate that Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., isn’t just wringing his hands over the problem of irresponsible U.S. spending and taxes. He is proposing reasonable solutions.

Here are Alexander’s sound suggestions:

• “First, we need to balance the budget.”

A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution “would force the president and Congress to balance the federal government’s budget the same way American families do,” he stated in a news release.

• Second, we need strict limits on federal outlays. That can be done by forcing the government to reduce its spending as a percentage of our gross domestic product — the sum of all our nation produces in a year.

To move toward that worthy goal, Alexander is co-sponsoring fellow Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s plan to reduce America’s spending from 25 percent of GDP to less than 21 percent over the next 10 years. That could save trillions of dollars.

• Third, there should be a ban on any new entitlement programs and the repeal of ObamaCare.

“Entitlements have grown to 57 percent of the budget, and they’re breaking the bank,” Alexander said. “We must start by repealing the entire health care law now, top to bottom, because it creates new entitlements and expands a system that everybody knows already costs too much.” (Even Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen has acknowledged the serious cost problems of ObamaCare.)

• Fourth, Washington should not be permitted to place new financial burdens on state and local taxpayers. “We should do that by banning all new unfunded mandates to the states,” Alexander said.

He describes our nation’s current situation in stark terms: “Our challenge is this: Stop a runaway federal government that has strayed from its constitutional role and given us big regulations and bad policies that squash small businesses and throw a big, wet blanket on job creation.”

That means doing things such as holding down tax rates, getting rid of excessive regulations, producing more domestic energy while promoting conservation, and “living within our means.”

Don’t you wish a majority of the members of Congress — and the president of the United States — had the good judgment and clear resolve that Alexander has shown? What a difference it would make to the economic health of our government — and to our personal jobs and pocketbooks — if his proposals were adopted.

“Whose grandchildren are we going to force to pay for all this spending?” Alexander asks.

That’s an excellent question. Don’t all of us care about our children and grandchildren, and their future in this great country? Then we had better act quickly to leave them something other than economic disaster.

Alexander, fortunately, doesn’t only deplore the problem. He offers a sound start toward solution.

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nucanuck said...

We can all agree that we need to balance the budget, but that's not a plan, that's a dream.

Our huge annual deficit is in reality a huge stimulus, and every dollar of over-spending is someone's job. No,you say, much of it is entitlements. Well that entitlement money gets spent quickly and supports someone's job, maybe yours.

To balance our budget quickly would collapse our economy. To not balance our budget, as we have not done for decades, will also collapse our economy, and we have arrived at that point.

What we need now is for the politicians who have given us so many years of delusional "free lunch" to acknowledge the collapse we face and tell us what we should expect and how we must work together to get through the most difficult time since 1776.

To simply say "balance the budget" is a non-starter.

April 23, 2011 at 10:31 a.m.
Plato said...

Great observation nucanuck and 100% on target.

This is the ugly truth that no politician of either party dare utter. We are essentially in a no-win scenario with the economy.
Even cutting the blotted defense budget will result in the loss of many jobs, albeit unnecessary ones.

So by cutting spending to reduce the deficit, we cool the economy, lose jobs and the tax revenue paid by the unemployed who will also then be on the receiving end of unemployment benefits. So ironically trying to reduce the deficit with spending cuts has the immediate short term effect of increasing it.

April 23, 2011 at 4:10 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Yeah Plato, would we rather drown or hang?...not very good choices.

April 23, 2011 at 7:29 p.m.
bookworm said...

Aleander's deficit reducing plan is deeply flawed. He calls for cuts in entitlement programs without any shared sacrifice by all Americans. He foicuses on the middle class and the poor to cut spending. He does not touch Defence spending, and he does not call for increasing taxes on the upper 1%. Unless you have a three way combination of 1.) Tax increases 2.) Discretionary cuts, and 3.) Defence cuts; then shrinking the deficit is not possible.

April 24, 2011 at 9:24 a.m.
librul said...

Alexander is demonstrating his fax machine is hard wired to the Koch empire and he is willing to recite the script just like all the rest of the reactionary righties.

April 24, 2011 at 6:03 p.m.
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