It's the Economy Stupid.
Okay, I’ve been doing this thing for a little while now. Occasionally I even run into people here and there that say they actually read what I write, so I keep doing it. But I don’t write these columns to please anyone and I certainly don’t delude myself believing I’ll actually change people’s minds or their way of thinking. If anything, I do it just to try to get people thinking in the first place. Even if that first thought is just; “boy is that guy an idiot.”
I’ve spent the better part of the past few years reading just about everything that comes out of the Congressional Budget Office, and lately, I’ve added to that most of the different proposals that concern our economy and budget, and I hate to be a pessimist, but I don’t think things are going well. That said, up until now, my goal to get your critical thinking juices flowing has only been a playful request. But now, I’m afraid, it’s time to draw a line in the sand.
The financial problem this country is currently facing is severe, and of the possible solutions out there, none are without their considerable sacrifices. I don’t care if you call me an idiot, and I don’t care if you tell me I’m stupid, but I think the time has come when you do your own research so you can at least tell me where I’m wrong.
When you vote, you draw upon a core set of beliefs that help you pick the right candidate. You ask yourself, which person most strongly represents the values that are important to me. You make your choice and then you stick by them. But to do it properly, you need to know where the candidates stand. To figure out where you stand you should first ask yourself the following questions;
1) Who do I trust in giving me information?
2) Who do I believe has a good understanding of the problem?
Once you’ve answered those questions, I ask that you at least visit the following websites:
President Obama’s budget proposal (Winning the Future) at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/winning-the-future/
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal (the Path to Prosperity) at: http://paulryan.house.gov
And a review of both, along with associated reading regarding the current state of the economy at; http://www.cbo.gov/
You might be able to just dismiss me as a right leaning fiscal conservative, but simply telling yourself that I’m full of it, doesn’t get you any closer to a solution. Do yourself a favor and do not let the events of the next few months pass you by without finding out what options are on the table.
The Congressional Budget Office reports that “a permanent cut in spending or increase in revenues equal to 4.8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product – equivalent to almost $700 billion today – would be needed to create a sustainable fiscal path for the next quarter century.” Don’t you think you should be prepared if any of those cuts in spending or increases in taxes apply to you?
Social Security and Medicare currently account for about 60% of mandatory government spending. If a balance is to be achieved, drastic changes will need to be made to these programs. Republicans and Democrats both have valid approaches to achieve solvency, but which one are you prepared to support?
The Cold War wasn’t won with missiles or bullets, but with cold hard cash. Communism’s greatest failure was one of financial sustainability. Likewise, when do the economic burdens of our major military actions overseas mandate changes in policy or at least strategy? Along with knowing where you stand on social programs, you must also have a realistic appreciation of possible sacrifices to national security.
And, if nothing else, I implore you to familiarize yourself with all the different tax options. Compare apples to apples and look at the historical results of past changes. As one budget proposal points out; “The United States has set the top individual (tax) rate as high as 90% and as low as 28%, but income tax revenue has remained fairly steady despite these sharp rate swings.”
It’s no longer okay to just have an opinion, you need to get the facts and be able to defend your position. As the saying goes; you can make things happen, watch things happen or wonder what happened. And if you just sit back and wait for someone else to take care of this issue, I doubt very seriously that the change you get will be what you were hoping for.