Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bite the Bullet, Baby - Our Bill is Here

The way I look at it, we've received our bill. The President's Deficit Commission put it together, and payments start now, today. There is no "pay-by date." And, as we've said all along, it falls on our children and grandchildren and maybe their children. In fact, the bill will take at least twenty-seven years to pay until we can balance the budget, and that doesn't count any natural disasters we'll pay for before 2037. The bill is due; Deficit Panel's Leaders Push Cuts.

What I like about it is that nothing is sacred. It recommends sweeping cuts in everything, from Defense to Social Security. It probably surprises many that I would like it because, if my past blogs are any indication, it should be obvious that I'm for the little guy. Yep, that is true. But, this report targets everyone, rich and poor, and in regards to those sacred programs, such as Social Security, it leans toward benefiting the poor more than the rich. It is clear, though, that the panel couldn't quite bring itself to suggest that the rich should pay more. It still has its tax cuts, in the form of lower tax rates, for the rich and corporations. I have no sympathy for the rich. I haven't seen any indication that they are willing to pay their dues. I would challenge those lower tax rates for the rich.

But, the bill represents our extravagance for fifty years, from the expensive and foolish Vietnam War; the Space Race; the Arms Race; corporate subsidies; deregulation; Bush's two wars; Bush's tax cuts; fifty years of hyped, inflated Defense spending; fear generated, hyped and inflated new Homeland Security Department that did not replace an already inefficient national security apparatus, such as the CIA and FBI; and years and years of quid pro quo earmarks.

There are a few things I would argue with, though. For example, I would argue against eliminating the deduction for interest paid on home purchases. That little nuance shoots down home-ownership for many. Without that deduction, less will be able to afford homes. But, again, I would limit deductions to those earning lower incomes. Poorer people should be able to deduct the expenses on things necessary for life just like a business deducts expenses for doing business; expenses for shelter, food, transportation, medical and dental care, etc., the things we need to live in the society we've created. I hope that nuance is in the bill. I have no objection to sharing the burden equally, but I do object to too much burden on those who can't pay.

One thing for sure. We need to get used to high unemployment. Perhaps as high as 15% to 20%. These cuts take away jobs. That means welfare of some kind and paying for the homeless at the national or local levels. I hate to see that, but... Get used to it.

Get used to living without personal credit and debt, too. If our government can't live with debt, it should be obvious that we can't either. That is especially true if that safety net, Social Security, is cut. Our children and their children can't afford to be in debt when they turn the new retirement age of 68 or 69 and expect a livable retirement. They should be saving, not going into debt. Living without credit is a culture change and it will be difficult to accept.

The bill is due. We each received a copy in a semi-truck. It didn't fit in our mailbox. Pay up, baby.


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