Thursday, November 29, 2012

What is Missing in the Fiscal Cliff Debate – “Spending Cuts” are “Borrowing Cuts”

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What the heck is wrong with the Republican leadership in Washington?  With all the brain power of politicians and their staff, why can’t they understand what fiscal cliff negotiations message is most important and would make the debate, and what is at stake for America, much more clear to the average American whether a Democrat or a Republican?  Even “no spending cuts” Democrats would take heed.

With every $1 spent by Washington now having 40 cents of it being borrowed, most likely from China, the message should be “Spending cuts are actually borrowing cuts.”  Even the most ardent far left liberal understands that message whether they want to admit it or not. 

Any American, at any income level, drowning in credit card debt or payments owed to a payroll loan store can comprehend the real danger of owing more than one can ever pay back without painful routine spending cut choices and a lower standard of living necessity.   Ask any of these Americans which one is in the stronger position – the lender or the borrower?    

The simple message that really counts, without the political one-upmanship, is the U.S. is spending more money than it has, even with a tax hike on the rich.  The proposed tax hike on the rich will bring in revenue that pays for the federal government spending for approximately 8 ½ days.  So, after a little over a week, at current spending levels, the U.S. is back to borrowing to continue current spending levels.  Only spending, or borrowing, cuts can turn the country around.        

There are also the dangers we have already seen in our country depending on China as an example to keep a government lifestyle of spending too much intact.  The Obama administration refused to declare China a currency manipulator just a couple of days ago.  C’mon now, is there any intelligent American, on either side of the political aisle, who would not say China has been manipulating their currency, especially against the dollar, for years?  This goes to the heart of unfair trade practices in fact with the U.S.   

In addition, the U.S. has refused to call out the Chinese government for human rights abuses for several years now fearing they would stop buying U.S. debt.  We have become a nation of political hypocrites in having the strength of our moral convictions.  We now ignore human rights abuses, because our politicians have put us in the deplorable position of needing to ignore them. 

Those whose human rights are abused in the world depend on the moral power and possibility of a strong U.S. influence to eradicate their suffering.  The ability to call abuse out is a vital first step in eliminating it. 

In today’s Obama/Romney lunch, the White House relayed the focus was on “America's leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future."  If the U.S. must hesitate to condemn human rights abuse, are we truly in a leadership position in the world?  Even the Democrats with their compassion for the poor and disenfranchised in societies should be able to get behind this reality for a better world.                    

This is not a partisan issue.  The majority of Republicans are just as guilty as the majority of Democrats in not wanting to have any real spending, or borrowing, cuts.  Politicians having money to give out ensures maintaining political control and power.  It is good public relations with an eye toward the next reelection campaign donors.  Politicians from both parties want to go back home to their districts or states and tout the money and projects they are responsible for funding to special interest groups.  

The fiscal cliff debate has been positioned as one of Republicans wanting to cut spending for the poor while maintaining low taxes for the rich, and the Democrats wanting to protect the poor from spending cuts and rightfully expecting the rich to pay for government for all.  This positioning does nothing but benefit politicians.  It does not benefit Americans today or tomorrow.     

The truth is the fiscal cliff debate should be about paying for the deficits that have been run up and cutting borrowing with interest to maintain a government lifestyle well above our means and economic health.  That is something both parties and Americans need to put into the fiscal cliff perspective. 

A “national borrowing count” should be added to the ever moving national debt clock.  This illustrates what it means to maintain current spending levels today as well as raising any debt ceiling levels in the future.        

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