published Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Another possible solution?

In the editorials above, we’ve discussed some national financial problems and some reasonable financial proposals. Another potential remedy that has gained attention is the “One Cent Solution.”

Chattanooga’s Chuck Zeiser, chairman of the local Southern Champion Tray company, is an advocate of the One Cent Solution. This week he gathered about 70 Chattanooga business people to hear Bruce Cook, of Atlanta, chief executive officer of Citizens for Restoring America’s Financial Future. Cook advocates a nonpartisan effort to balance the federal budget and reduce the national debt by the One Cent Solution.

He suggests that if the federal government would cut just 1 cent out of every dollar of total federal spending each year for six years, that would balance the federal budget by late this decade, reduce federal spending $7.5 trillion over 10 years, and reduce the national debt $3.4 trillion over 10 years.

Here’s the explanation:

The One Cent Solution says that while all federal spending should be considered, some programs are too critical to cut heavily. In those instances, other programs would be reduced more so the total amount cut is equal to 1 cent for every dollar every year for six years.

“For a simple example,” the One Cent Solution advocates suggest, “let’s say the federal budget only had three programs funded, each with an annual budget of just $1.

“1. Program A is simply cut by one cent every year for six years. That means the annual budget for Program A is $0.99 in 2012, and then $0.98, $0.97, $0.96, $0.95 and finally $0.94.

“2. However, no cuts may be recommended for Program B. It is already lean.

“3. But then, Program C would have to be cut by two cents each year for six years so that the total federal budget is cut by one cent for every total dollar, for a balanced budget by 2019.”

Sound simple?

It is. The idea is that the One Cent Solution will cut total government spending gradually over the six-year period. It would also cap overall spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product, or GDP, starting in 2018.

“This simple solution balances the budget by 2019, reduces federal spending by $7.5 trillion over 10 years and restores America’s financial future,” its advocates’ website states.

Do you see much evidence that a majority of our lawmakers in Congress, as well as President Barack Obama, are united in agreement on some other way to start paying down our debt and to begin living within our means as a nation? Do you like all the talk of raising taxes?

Some amount of taxation clearly is needed to fund constitutional functions of government, but nobody should be comfortable about paying massive taxes just to cover the interest on a growing national debt.

So can’t you imagine the benefits that all of us, and our national economy, could enjoy without raising taxes by just slightly reducing spending over half a dozen years?

The One Cent Solution not only could reduce our debt, but it could create other good effects, such as encouraging economic growth, increasing employment, reducing the need for welfare and bringing in more government revenue as the economic base expands.

It’s clearly preferable to even more spending and debt.

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