In response to last weeks letters critical of Republicans and our congresswoman, Jaime Herrera Beutler, rather than addressing the mischaracterization of her votes for fairly modest Republican cuts, I would like to ask a question: Exactly what solutions do you propose?
I dont believe there is a single parent (Democrat or Republican) that thinks it is acceptable to take out a credit card in each kids name and rack up $4,000 a year on it. But that is just what we did in 2009, 2010 and 2011. That debt will be repaid as inflation devalues the dollar, our income and our savings, and as future taxes go to interest payments and repaying the loans, instead of essential government services. But the bigger question is: What do we do going forward? The best budget that President Obama or the Democrats in the Senate have offered only reduces the borrowing from each child to $3,000 a year, year after year, and that is in the most optimistic case.
Of course, the government cannot spend so much money it doesnt have indefinitely. In the next two to five years, I am afraid we will see $5 to $6 a gallon gas, a double-dip recession, high interest rates that bring another huge wave of mortgage foreclosures, and a stagnant economy with even higher unemployment. Sadly, this prediction will likely occur regardless; the crisis is already on its way, all we can do is try to make it less severe. Suddenly discovering responsibility does not immediately cure years of irresponsibility. Calling Republicans greedy does nothing to address the issue at hand: How do we pay for the things weve come to expect the federal government to provide?
We cannot just ignore the deficit and continue overspending; the U.S. will go bankrupt, and there is no one to bail us out. We cannot tax our way out of this; undoing the Bush tax rate cuts on the rich wont even make a dent. Even taxing the income of the rich at 100 percent wont balance the budget. (This also ignores the fact that anyone who works hard to make a good income only to find the government has taken it all wont make that mistake the following year.)
The only solution we have is to cut spending, and cut it by hundreds of billions of dollars. Cutting the federal budget this much wont be easy or painless. It will require an adult conversation about which programs are necessary, which are effective, and which are better performed at the state or local level. Calling names, or protesting in the streets, or pretending that every dollar cut is snatched from the mouth of a starving child will not change the math; we have more bills due than we have money in our account, so spending will have to be reduced.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler is doing an excellent job working with the other Republicans in Congress to avert the coming financial crisis by voting for responsible budget reform.