LETTERS: Balance the budget already

So, U.S. law calls for us to pass a budget each year, and we haven't done that since President Obama has taken office. All of the blame has gone to Congress, primarily Republicans, as if Obama has no role to play.

Congressman Rob Woodall had the courage to vote for the "No Budget, No Pay" legislation, which merely enforces the federal law already in existence: that requires we pass a budget each year. Makes sense, right?

Representatives Paul Broun and Hank Johnson don't think so. Johnson uses the worn-out Democratic mantra that way too many people have signed onto -- like lemmings--- that the Republicans are governing by "gimmicks." Since when is trying to enforce federal law a gimmick?

Johnson further says Republicans are using "scare tactics." So, we as citizens have nothing to fear about a runaway deficit, with no budget to even aim to? It's like the scene from the "Titanic" where they have hit the iceberg and the stewards are telling passengers there is nothing to be concerned about.

-- Mike Puckett,



Jan 2 years, 7 months ago

Last time I checked the House was controlled by Republicans. From section 7 of the Constitution: "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills." It is unfortunate that that the tea party has managed to coop the house Republicans. While only being one third of the government, they have refused to allow reasonable compromises. The Senate has not passed a budget because the House has not presented one without unreasonable cuts in things like medicare and social security while expanding programs that benefit their wealthy contributors. And the bill to suspend pay in unconstitutional as well. It was only a symbolic move to impress the uninformed. From section 6: "The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services" and the 27th amendment: "No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened."


FordGalaxy 2 years, 7 months ago

Jan - What, then would be considered "reasonable cuts?" You say the GOP has only proposed unreasonable cuts, but from my perspective, there are too many politicians on both sides of the aisle saying that we can't even cut anything. The president put together a super-committee that couldn't even agree on how to slow down the growth of spending, much less figuring out how to cut spending.

I know that politicians like to say that government cannot be run like a business or a household, and from a macro-economic perspective there is truth to that. But the simple fact is we are continually spending more money than we take in. We already take in a lot. I can see the argument that we take in more than enough to pay for what we need, which illustrates the out-of-control spending methods of Washington. Of course, the politicians say that we don't have a problem. In the real world, we call that "denial."

We've got to cut spending somewhere. The Democrats seem to want to target military spending first. The Republicans seem to target entitlement spending first. We need to work on both. Of course, if you don't think we have a spending problem, then I guess you're okay with Washington's fiscal practices. (Please note, when I say "you" I am not talking about you in particular, Jan. I use it as a colloquialism and to make a point.)

The last two men to preside over this nation have witnessed over $10 trillion added to the national debt. You don't have to look far to see people migrating all around the naton to find better tax situations for themselves because the government keeps trying to take more and more. California is seeing a mass exodus of people moving to lower-tax states. Across the pond, France is seeing the same thing, as their Socialist president has vowed higher taxes, so the wealthy are disappearing.

Here's the trick...Conservatives are okay with paying taxes. We understand the necessity of a federal government and that it costs money to make that government work. Our disagreement is with the scope of the federal government and the expenditures of said government in relation to its revenue stream. There are even conservatives who would be okay with higher taxes so long as the tax revenue goes toward Constitutionally authorized works. The nebulous scope of entitlement spending and the very notion of "mandatory spending" grates at some of us.

As for Congressional pay, I think there should be an amendment that elected representatives and Senators receive compensation equal to the average salary of an American infantryman. Their office was meant to be a public service and duty. They've turned it into a rather comfortable career.

I hope that makes sense. I know it's a bit of a rant.


Jan 2 years, 7 months ago

I'll start where we seem to have some degree of agreement. Congressional compensation package is too high. I do find it amazing how Congressmen can claim to be "public servants" while taking a salary for a part time job that is 4 times the national average, then adding to that office expenses, excellent health insurance, private dining room, and overly generous retirement benefits. As for the average salary of an American infantryman, that would give congress a major incentive to declare wars since soldiers pay increase for war zones. Do you really want congressmen to get paid more for declaring war? Additionally, soldier pay is low since they get full meals, housing and medical coverage as a part of their compensation package. With lower salaries, we would expect more dedicated politicians. Maybe tie their salary in with the average teachers salary - give them an incentive to fund education.

If conservatives are okay with paying taxes, why do they insist on keeping the tax credits and deductions that give them special loopholes and not raising the top rate?

When cutting spending, we must be careful to not do more harm than good. With a recession economy, most significant spending cuts by the Federal government would result in higher unemployment. We can reduce tax credits, foreign aid and some types of military spending without any significant loss of jobs. We are giving billions in foreign aid to countries with good credit rating and virtually zero net debt. Does it make sense for us to borrow to give them money? Of course not.

Republicans want to go after "entitlements" and then set their sights on medicare and social security. People pay for these. You probably heard Paul Ryan claim that people are paid back more from social security than they put in. The problem here is Paul Ryan does not count the employers contribution nor the fact that interest has accumulated on the sum paid in. Take these into account and you will see why the SS payout should even be higher. I have not run the numbers on Medicare. The Republicans pushed through an unfunded addition to Medicare for drugs. With this, it probably is losing money. It was designed to lose money and benefit drug companies. That part does need to be fixed but not abolished. As for other "entitlement" programs, most are temporary help and amount to an extremely small part of the budget. Stopping these payments would also stop this money from flowing into the economy and hurt a fragile economy.

I was interrupted several times while writing this and did not proofread since you will probably ignore the information - hope it makes sense for those that are interested in facts.


FordGalaxy 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't ignore information presented to me, but I may not agree with the presentation. I'll play your game, though.

The difference in your experience wiht conservatives and mine is simple: You're probably only hearing the conservatives that appear on FoxNews or that get trotted out as token contributors on CNN or MSNBC. Talk to some conservative libertarians, though, and hear what they say. Also, I said "Constitutionally authorized works." I'm of the mindset that much of what the federal government does now is no longer Constitutionally authorized. They just find ways around that pesky founding document.

Tying politician salary in with teacher salaries might sound good, but consider the fact that for the last two or three decades we've thrown more and more money at education and see worse and worse results. The problem comes not from funding (depnding on your chose point of view, you could argue for more or less funding), but the problem comes from several societal factors. There are some people who believe that things should just be handed to them. They don't think they should have to work, ergo they put forth little effort in school. To think that tying salary to soldiers pay would mean more wars may be a tad shortsighted. War isn't exactly popular with most people, save for the fringe whackos who have stockpiled military weapons since the 1800s. Voting for war can lose you an election, and most of these politicians are so powerhungry that they'll do whatever necessary to keep power. Sad, but true.

I love the argument that the government can't stop spending because the economy is bad and we need more government spending to stimulate the economy. I even heard one Democrat say that the federal government was the only entity strong enough to stimulate the economy. But look at what's going on. The economy actually shrank in the last quarter, even with all that vaunted government spending. Now, liberals are telling us it's the best looking contraction you'll ever see. Polish a piece of crap; it's still a piece of crap.

Didn't Nancy Pelosi tell us that unemployment payments were good for the economy? No, it was something else...oh yeah, she said that extending unemployment benefits would somehow create 500k or 600k jobs. That's funny to me. Of course, she also told us that Congress had to pass legislation so that the people could find out what was in it.

I agree on foreign aid. Cut it.

I'm a believer in across the board cuts. Not just defense, not just entitlement, but everything. The common man does it all the time. I've had to make massive cuts before. But we're told, and expected to believe, that the federal government just simply can't cut anything.

Like you, I faced several interruptions writing that response. Hope you have a great day, though. Unlike some other people on these discussion sections, I really like debating back and forth with you.


Jan 2 years, 7 months ago

You have false information. We put money into education during Clinton's presidency and education improved. In recent years, educational funding has decreased and education is once again struggling. How much harm has been done to education by the lack of funds will take years to determine. Also the rate of government spending increase is well below inflation, making it a mathematical spending decrease. If government spending is your primary focus, then you should vote for the Democratic party since government spending growth has been lower under Democratic presidents than Republican presidents for over 50 years. Under the Republicans, it has averaged almost double inflation rate while under Democratic control of the white house, has averaged near to inflation rate. Are you serious about across the board cuts? That is not sensible. If you suddenly lost your income and must trim 10% from your budget, you don't tell the bank that you can only pay 90% of your mortgage or insurance that they will have to accept only 90%. You don't tell your kids they can only eat 90% as much food. You start by cutting vacations, club memberships, cable and other discriminatory spending. If you are running a company, you don't lay off 10% of your assembly line people since this would cut production 10%, thus reducing salable goods further reducing revenue forcing additional cuts. The same principle applies to cuts in things like unemployment. Cut these and spending goes down, thus decreasing the need for the goods they would have bought. This leads to reduced production needs and additional layoffs by the companies. This increases unemployment. I do agree that Libertarians and Republicans are different. If you are a real Libertarian, how can you possibly believe in the Republican party, especially the tea party? Libertarians believe same sex marriage should be legal, they believe in equal rights for all. They do not believe in taking away a woman's right to make her own health care decisions. I am not a Libertarian because I do not fully agree with their position on the legalization of drugs.


FordGalaxy 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't agree with the Republican Party. Nor do I agree with the Democrats. Heck, I don't agree with the Libertarians all the time, I just find myself supporting their platform more than any other. To me, Republicans and Democrats are just two sides of the same coin.

While I might not be a supporter of same-sex marriage, I do not believe that the law should be used to stop it. Then again, I don't believe you should get different beneits and different taxation based on your marital status anyway. Why should someone be rewarded or punished in the tax code because they did or did not get married? That makes no sense. Same goes for health care. Marital issues shouldn't come into play.

As for women's choice, well, that's a touchy subject. I was actually once told, by someone I respected at the time, that I was not allowed to have an opinion on abortion because, as a male, I would not personally carry a child. I understand that if you make abortion illegal, it will not go away. It instead would go underground and lose all sense of medical oversight. However, I do think more can be done to limit abortion. I really feel like this is a failure on the behalf of religions around the world, as we could probably limit abortions by coming together as a sort of council of faiths and working to find adoptive homes. This is even something I think governments could aid in. Unfortunately, we have some people like Mr. Toure on MSNBC, saying that abortion saved him, because his girlfriend at the time was pregnant and he saw no future with her, and the child would've been an inconvenience for him...so abortion got him out of a tight spot. Never mind the child that was destroyed because of it. It was all about Mr. Toure's convenience.

As for drugs, studies show that legalization and treatment are more effective than the inane, and ultimately wasteful, war on drugs the two major parties have supported for the last few decades. It's a waste to put someone in jail because they had a little pot on them. It just is. Does it mean I support drug use? No. I don't. But there are some things that are illegal that don't really need to be. Also, if marijuana is so bad, then why are alcohol and tobacco legal? Oh, they have lobbyists and districts that make all their money on alcohol and tobacco. That's one of the reasons.


FordGalaxy 2 years, 7 months ago

As for across the board cuts, perhaps I should've been clearer. I would support every department in Washington, and every part of the federal bureaucracy cutting their departmental costs by 10%. As for the Tea Party? Sure, every group has its fringe whackos. There are even some liberals who are so far to the left that other liberals disassociate from them. But that's not to say they don't sometimes make good points. I see nothing wrong with wanting a balanced budget and trying to cut back. We're nearing $17 Trillion in debt. The left villified George Bush for adding $4.7 Trillion in his eight years in office. Obama oversaw nearly $6 Trillion in one year, but Bush was the bad guy.

So if spending doesn't increase at the same rate as inflation, you can call it a spending cut? That seems awfully euphemistic. By that same token, you could say that, if your employer doesn't give you a raise, but the value of the dollar goes up, then technically you did get a raise. At the end of the day, you're still spending trillions of dollars. We've yet to have a year of under $1 trillion deficits under Obama.


news2me 2 years, 7 months ago

The Fiscal Cliff and a Balanced Budget are not important anymore. Illegal Aliens are going to be given a fast path to citizenship so they can be big taxpayers, and lets not forget the huge fines they are willing to pay and enormous amount of back taxes they are going to hand over with a smile. The so-called wealthy are being hit hard in their thick wallets. Priceless Obamacare is well underway.



kevin 2 years, 7 months ago

Why hasn't the Senate come up with a budget Mr. Harry Reid?


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