Last week Congress averted a shutdown of the federal government. Damn. We really needed it to happen. The hubris demonstrated by passing temporary spending bills to ensure Congress received its own paycheck while the active military would have gone without was beyond unconscionable.
The shutdown loomed because the party of no ideas â€“â€“ the Democrats â€“â€“ refused to cooperate with the party of bad ideas â€“â€“ the Republicans â€“â€“ about how meaningless and ineffective to make the needed budget cuts.
How absurd was the argument you might ask? Well, the deficit will run $1.3 trillion. The Republicans found a whopping $61 billion they wanted cut from discretionary spending, to which the Democrats responded with semi-coherent indignation while they recognized a growing portion of voters ÂÂâ€“â€“ also known as their employers â€“â€“ want to see budget cuts.
Thus, they responded with a proposed and no-less ignorant budget cut in the vicinity of $32 billion. Far be it from me to criticize the parasites elected to represent us in the festering swamp of the District of Columbia, but they are concerned only with grandstanding for your votes next year.
For comparison, you have to pay your bills for the year; you have to borrow $13,000 to pay your bills. The two people making decisions in your life, letâ€™s say for the sake of argument your wife and girlfriend want you to be in a position to borrow less. Your wife wants you to cut $610, your girlfriend wants you to save $320 and steal the rest from wealthy relatives. Have your problems improved by taking either route? You havenâ€™t put a dent in how much you have to borrow.
If the platform of hope and change elected to office in 2012 had amounted to anything other than an undetectable change in odor, perhaps business as usual in Washington might have resulted in something other than one party clamoring to take another 3 percent in taxes from the wealthiest Americans while the other called for a meaningless cut in discretionary spending.
As I have written before, the three portions of the federal government most in need of restructuring are Social Security, Medicare and Defense. Why arenâ€™t these three seeing major cuts? Voters. Here I go again, blaming the victim.
Fifty-nine million Americans receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income. Guess which demographic of American voter typically has the highest participation? Think there are any politicians willing to sacrifice their ivory tower by cutting into those benefits?
Unfunded liabilities are the difference between benefits promised to current and future beneficiaries subtracted from established taxes and premiums. Keep this in mind â€“â€“ Social Securityâ€™s unfunded liabilities two years ago were right about $17 trillion.
Pushing the minimum age for benefit eligibility back five years would make Social Security, an unconstitutional entitlement program, once again somewhat solvent. Without that change, it will continue to run further into the red.
American voters are fickle creatures. At least 87 million Americans depend on either Medicare or Medicaid. Guess what theyâ€™ll do to any representative who votes for cuts to their benefits? In 2009 the unfunded liabilities of these two programs was believed to be $89 trillion.
Tax revenues have decreased significantly since those numbers came out. Theyâ€™re worse now. As for military spending, the Democrats fail to engage cuts because they do not want to risk losing undecided hawks.
If D.C. wants to unify the nation, balance the budget and return the U.S. to a place of prominence, they would bring the military home from every non-combat location beginning immediately, stop using the tax dollars of Americans to fund NATOâ€™s defense, push back Social Security five years immediately and initiate turning over Social Security and Medicare to the individual states.
If Nebraska wants to continue giving Social Security to their seniors, such is their right. No longer should Americans pay taxes as U.S. citizens, rather the federal government needs to return to its intended purpose of acting as the agent of the states, not the other way around.
Our system of corruption has come full circle. The insipid detestable paragons representing these two parties at the highest level have succeeded in convincing Americans to support their empty promises in exchange for receiving our own money in the form of entitlements we should provide ourselves.
Government shutdown averted, government malfeasance perpetuated.
Seth J. Stern supports Ron Paul and bacon. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.