Congress Needs to Balance The Budget

August 4, 2011

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My kids love the idea of a credit card. You walk into the store; you pick out what you want, slide your card, sign the screen or receipt and leave. In their minds you never have to pay for it. They don’t see the bill that comes 30 days later. They don’t understand that when I’m sitting at the computer I’m using bill pay to funnel money from checking or savings to the credit card. The concept just won’t click in their beautiful (but naive) minds.

The idiots in Washington apparently don’t get it either. The difference is that they’re not six years old, they’re not cute like my daughters and those idiots are elected to not spend us into bankruptcy. I understand that everyone has “pet” expenditures. Some items mean more to someone living in Pigsnuckle, Arkansas than they do to someone living in Intercourse, Pennsylvania. However, in the act of cutting budgets, not everyone can win. There always has to be a loser.

What I don’t understand is why some people can’t see the importance of trimming the budget. Maybe it’s the accounting side of me, but if my family had a budget of $100,000 and I made $75,000 I would be worried. How long could we sustain that? Not long with the amount of savings that we have. We certainly couldn’t borrow money for 50 years without making changes.

So, why do we expect the government to do it? Where do we expect the money to come from? If they print more money, the currency just drops in value, so that does us no good. If we borrow more money from China we just incur more debt and have more interest to pay. No one likes it, but we have to trim spending significantly. I’m thrilled that the parties and the president have been able to come up with an agreement, but this is just the start. Wait until government healthcare kicks in, do you really think the government is going to make money with it? I would be thrilled if we could break even with it, but that isn’t going to happen.

The economy is weak; many businesses are making less money which means they pay less taxes which means that the government is taking in less revenue. To better determine what that means to us, remember the formula:

Revenues – Expenses = Profit (or loss if negative)

Try not to freak on me, but this is not just a democrat/liberal/regressive problem. I read a few weeks ago that spending has not shrunk since 1955. I don’t know if revenues increased every one of those years, but I would doubt that we hit an increase every year. Why would any congress or any president think for a moment that it was OK to continue increasing spending every single year? Why do we want to build a ridiculous amount of debt to pass on to the next generation? Doesn’t anyone realize that there will be serious repercussions if we can’t fix this spending mess that we are in?

In a few months I will be turning 40. As I approach middle age, I naturally start to think about what kind of legacy I want to leave behind. I have been thinking about my career, my personal life and how I conduct myself on a daily basis. What will my kids remember about me when they’re 40, 50 or 60 years old? What will their lives be like? Will they have the same opportunities that I have had? Are we going to hit another massive depression? If we don’t begin to act responsibly with our money, I think a very bad recession or even a depression is very likely.

Let my ADD kick in for a moment on another budget related item. Have you seen the article about free cell phones in Pennsylvania? Yes, there is now public aid so that people can have a free cell phone and 250 minutes each month because it’s a civil right. It’s paid for by the Universal Service Fund that is included on your cell phone bill each month. It’s yet another example of people latching on to the community tit, sucking it dry and you’re paying for it.

The time for fiscal responsibility is now. Demand it. That being said, all you’re going to hear is how bad the conservatives are for wanting to cut program costs. Those damn conservatives have no heart. They take advantage of people and don’t want to help anyone out. Well, truth be told, we’re just trying to live within our means. Obviously, we have a problem with that in this country and it’s time for everyone to learn what it means.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Angry Squirrel
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 12:02:24

    While I think the whole balancing the budget is something we need to work back to like we were starting to do in the late 90’s. However the conservative notion that there needs to be a consitutional amendment is absurd. It is something to work towards as soon as we can, but the having it as Constitutional Law would lead to insanity. Say there is a natural disater in an area. You need Government aid, well sorry that is not in the budget we can’t help you. Need to go fight a war that is needed for national security, sorry Charlie we don’t have that budgeted.

    So conservatives want people to live within their means like everyone else huh? SO that means farm subsides, oil subsidies, loopholes to pay less and less in taxes, etc. need to be done away with right? No? That’s right its only the poor and elderly that don’t deserve Government assistance in the conservative world.

    On the cell phone thing I think it is more a more people are portable with their phones in modern times thing. There is already in most states I think assistance for the poor in maintaining a landline phone. Now I am sure you are against that as well, so I am not trying to change your mind there. Just pointing out it is not entirely a new concept, just a modernization of current supports.

    The most amusing things in the aftermath of the ‘compromise’ on the debt ceiling debate is the Tea Party or as I now sometimes refer to them as the Veruca Salt Party outraging over caving in. When the only thing they gave up in the deal was raising the debt celing, which contrary to their delusional thoughts does not give the President a blank check to spend more. It gives money to the Treasury to service past debt. Also their outrage over the new bicamral (sp?) ‘Super Congress’ is laughable. It is merely a committee that will act like all other committees and then each side of Congress to actually make anything into law. I can pretty much assure that the ‘Super Congress’ will do nothing anyways. Every vote except ordering pizza is goin to end up a 6-6 tie and the automatic budget cutting will be what is done because they will be getting nothing done themselves. Then again the facts and reailty is nothing that the Tea Party is grounded in, so I wouldn’t expect them to understand. It is their lack of reality that is starting to leave me to be scared no matter what happens in the next elections. If they get their way we cann kiss the country goodbye and if Obama gets reelected I don’t wat to think about the armed rebellion these nuts are going to be pushing for on a daily basis.


  2. kosmo
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 12:37:28

    “Every vote except ordering pizza is goin to end up a 6-6 tie”

    I’m sure you’re wrong about that. When have 12 people ever been able to agree on pizza toppings?

    I’ll be really surprised if a constitutional amendment is passed by the states. If the feds are forced to cut spending, some of the programs they cut could then be forced to seek more funding from the states – which could cause the budget in those states to become balance.

    If you’re a state legislator and the state budget isn’t balanced, people point the finger at you. If the federal budget isn’t balanced, people blame Washington. I expect some state legislators to pass the buck.


  3. The Angry Squirrel
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 14:34:39

    Yes very true Kosmo it was more a joke at the Republicans having the pizza party when they were trying to whip their votes together. Yeah, now that I think about it they probably wouldn’t agree to that either.


  4. Squeaky
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 14:36:11

    I’m glad that you think balancing the budget is something that we need to work toward. Take a look at the stock market today….down 450+ as I type. The problem is that we’re not moving toward balancing the budget quickly enough. 12 people in a room will order 12 different pizzas unless you can get some overlap on pepperoni. There has to be some compromise though or we’ll just tank everything.

    If there is a constitutional amendment, they’ll just have to work in something for situations in which an state of emergency has been declared. It’s not the end of the world, but would certainly hold everyone’s feet to the fire.

    Diverse and inclusive readers like the squirrel don’t exactly embrace the diversity of the Tea Party. Say what you will, but they have the budget nailed. Had they not dug their feet in and forced the conservatives and democrats to give a little more, the markets would be that much worse today.

    Squirrel nailed it—that I wouldn’t agree for phones (land line or cellular) for needy people across the board. Victims of domestic violence…I see the need. People with severe medical issues….I see the need. By and large, I can’t understand why we’re footing the bill though.

    In 535 days it will be January 20, 2013. On that date we will have a new president and hopefully a new perspective on the urgency of the budget. I’m sure a few liberals out there are laughing and think that Obama has this in the bag…guess again. The debt deal that was not enough to help the economy is going to put a nail in his coffin. I’m starting to think that the Republicans could just about run with anyone and win. The liberals just don’t get it. Hopefully some people will better understand the trouble we are in as they learn about the stock market’s reaction. It’s basic economics folks.



  5. kosmo
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 14:59:05

    It would only take 13 states to scuttle a consitutional amendment (since 38 would need to ratify). Those 13 states wouldn’t even need to vote against the BBA, they’d just need to refrain from voting on it. I think there are 13 states that will do this.

    You didn’t actually say that a stock market reaction was basic economics, did you? 🙂 An awful lot of movement in the stock market is emotion.


  6. The Angry Squirrel
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 15:12:52

    Well I grasp exactly what the Tea Party is about, and it ain’t diversity to say the least. Of course they got everything they wanted in the debt deal expect that the debt ceiling was actually raised. The only people not seeing that right now is themselves.

    From what I have seen on discussion on both sides of the spectrum and what proposal there is for it right now to see from the Republicans. A consitutuional law to require Congress to always have a balanced budget would tie them to not spending a cent more than budgeted. The only way state of emergency spending would be able to be done would be to immediately cut that money from elsewhere. Not to mention having to budget in debt servicing into the budget, not to mention actually paying it off in the buget as well.

    And no I don’t think Obama has this election in the bag. He may have one of the weakest field of opponents, but he also has alienated his own base at almost every turn. Outside of the absoulte terror if we allow another village idiot to run the country, there will be nothing driving progressesives to the polls. Then again depending on who actually gets the nod on the Republican side will also lead to how things will turn out. If Mittens gets the nomination, which I don’t think he will. I guarantee you there will be a third party candidate to the right of him in the general election.


  7. The Angry Squirrel
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 15:16:43

    But yesah Kosmo is right, even if it does get voted out of Congress it wil never become law as there won’t be enough states that ratify it. That is unless a Republican Congress and President were to be in office and keep every dime of their federal funding from them until it was ratified. Then it possibly happens, but still unlikely.


  8. kosmo
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 15:24:20

    Hmm. That’s a possibility I haven’t thought of. However, I’d think SCOTUS would deem that sort of strong-arming to be improper influence over the process.

    There was a similar threat with regards to highway funds that forced states to lower the legal blood alcohol level from .10 to .08. States that stayed at .10 would lose highway funds.


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