Friday, July 29, 2011

Raise the roof, or the debt ceiling...or not

My friend Rick commented on the debt ceiling standoff to his Circles and I wrote a comment, which I soon realized was a blog. To leave something this long on someone's comment is, well, just rude. I decided to C+V it over here:

Just once I want to see this sort of discussion without bringing up the military, Social Security and Medicare. Yes, they are big budget items, but it's usually the little things that break a budget. Take those 3 big items out of the picture and start cutting the rest. I know how much my house payment is and I can't change that. But I can stop eating out so often. It's the little things.

Here's the thing. We need our government to stop funding every little research program that comes down the pike. Stop funding social agendas with the carrot-and-stick approach. Meet this benchmark and we'll give you money. That is the only power that the Department of Education has, by the way. An estimated $71 billion goes to the Department of Education, plus another $23 billion from the stimulus plan, and the DoE has no power to implement these programs over the states. They can only reward states for meeting their agendas--and effectively removing the power from individual school districts. It's an estimated $93 billion savings if the Federal government butted out of a local issue.  BUT there's a catch and the perfect example is the shuttle program.

How many thousands of unemployed people are there now because they shut down the shuttle program? Think about how many programs, large and small our tax dollars support. Our government funds so many programs that the number of unemployed would skyrocket if they stopped funding them. Not just research programs mind you, but education, social programs; there's a lot of good stuff being funded that would need to find funding elsewhere or shut down.

The ugly truth is that too many of us live off the federal government. The easiest ones to identify are the military, the elderly, and the disabled. However, through federal programs, a lot of us make our living because the government is picking up the tab. Shut down those programs and a lot more people are out of work. 

What we  need are jobs. Real jobs. Not jobs created by the stimulus program that are funded by the government. We need our American companies to come back from other countries and employ American people. We need to stop telling our kids that the only good jobs are jobs in a high rise in a major city, where they wear a white shirt and a blue tie and make a bunch of money. It is okay to work in a factory. It's good, honest work.

I'm no expert. I don't know how to fix the budget, but I do recognize that cutting the budget might be like pulling the 7 of diamonds out of the bottom row of that house of cards. That's probably why Washington throws the military, Medicare, and Social Security under the bus. Those three pull on the heartstrings and we'll fight to save them. Washington doesn't really want to start reshuffling the deck and cutting programs because it will put more people out of work and we can't afford that right now--literally.

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