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Let’s Pay Our National Debts!

January 2, 2014

Article published in the Duncan OK Banner January 1, 2014.

LET’S PAY OUR NATION’S BILLS!
As the New Year gets underway, we need the elected representatives we elected – from the bottom to the top of all government positions – to act rationally and keep uppermost in their minds the needs of all. Too much of the past year has been spent – at both state and federal levels – pushing ideological programs rather than governing by debate and compromise.
With the economy actually moving forward, and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on an upswing, 2014 is not the time to cause a downturn with a battle over a debt limit that is not due for future spending, but current obligations. The National Debt has risen dramatically under every president since Ronald Reagan, so no one administration is to blame.
1. Rising inflation in the early 1980’s was stimulated by tax cuts under President Reagan (later, he had to reinstate some of those cuts). Those higher inflation rates caused higher interest rates, making it imperative for the national debt to more than double.
2. The bursting of the Dot Com Bubble at the end of the 1990’s and deregulation of the banking system – combined with massive federal tax cuts, both corporate and individual – lead to a recession with high unemployment.
3. Following “9-11”, Congress mismanaged the federal budgets, due in large part by refusing to include funding in those budgets to pay for two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) and Medicare Part D (Prescription Assistance Program). While the conflict in Afghanistan was in retaliation for the attack on November 9, 2001 there was no budgetary funds allocated to pay for it. Instead, Congress borrowed money via Federal Bonds. The war with Iraq was funded the same way, excusing budgetary mismanagement with the excuse that the administration did not know what the cost would be. Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike sanctioned both actions.
4. More recently, the Great Recession which started in the late 2000’s – from which we are now slowly recovering – is a compilation of what has already been discussed plus the bursting of the “housing bubble” created by unscrupulous lenders. Those bad lending procedures, tied to the inability of the federal government to collect taxes on profits of American companies on their products manufactured overseas, has caused Congress to burden the government with even more debt.
This problem with the debt limit will keep resurfacing until members of congress can come together to solve the problem of balancing the budget in an equitable manner. Giving tax breaks to those that “have” while raising tax rates and user fees on those that “do not have” is unethical and will created ongoing debt limit increases.
Congress voted to issue bonds to pay for war and destruction but will not vote to issue bonds to fund infrastructure improvements for our nation. That funding would put many of the current 1.3 million unemployed back to work and negate a need for unemployment benefits!
Tying the raising of the debt limit to any other part of the national budget or policy is not in the best interest of any of us. Our representatives in Washington need to quit playing politics like a group of sandlot kids playing ball while one side declares, “Play the game our way, or we’ll take the ball (votes) and go home!”
We do not have a Federalist Government dominated by wealthy men and landowners any longer. We now have a democratic system, which represents equality for all as proclaimed in the U.S. Constitution. That equality includes the rights for an equal opportunity to vote, the rights of women to govern their own bodies, equal rights to education, rights to wed regardless of sexual orientation and your rights, dear reader, to your personal beliefs. My wish is that this New Year will bring you hope, prosperity and happiness.

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