Real spending cuts overdue

Real spending cuts overdue

July 13th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

The clock continues ticking toward an Aug. 2 deadline, at which point the federal government will run out of money to meet some of its financial obligations. And yet, President Barack Obama and Democrat leaders in Congress refuse to budge on their demand that big tax increases be part of any deal to raise the debt ceiling.

That is beyond irresponsible in the face of our $14.3 trillion national debt.

Even if you believe, in principle, that tax increases would be wise, the worst possible time to impose higher taxes is in the midst of an economic crisis.

Anyone who questions whether we remain in a crisis need only look at our rising unemployment - now 9.2 percent - to remove any doubt.

Plus, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index was at an abysmal 58.5 in June. Ninety is considered a healthy reading. The housing market remains in deep trouble, too, with home values low and many jobless Americans still facing foreclosure.

Taxing job creators more heavily at this point is a recipe for still higher unemployment.

Neither is higher government spending without major cuts elsewhere a solution. If the $862 billion "stimulus" hasn't produced the promised jobs since it was enacted in early 2009, it is absurd to think it is suddenly going to start doing so now.

Republicans in Congress do not want the nation to be unable to pay its debts. But they are properly insisting that any increase in the non-limiting "debt limit" be accompanied by corresponding spending cuts at least equal in size to the debt limit increase. That could come to about $2.4 trillion. Moreover, they are rightly opposed to economy-crushing tax increases.

"[T]he American people will not accept - and the House cannot pass - a bill that raises taxes on job creators," House Speaker John Boehner said.

Republicans won control of the House in the 2010 elections on explicit promises not to raise taxes. It would be both economically and politically unwise of them now to go back on their word.

Massive spending and too-high taxes have not worked. The free market is the answer to our economic ills, but it cannot begin producing jobs and economic growth so long as Washington continues to threaten business and the American people with higher taxes and continues squandering so much of our nation's wealth on wasteful government spending.

It's past time for a change.