The Debt’s in the Details, Part II

Yesterday in Part I, we ended our discussion by pointing to the real way out; things that stabilize, heal, and grow our economy. Increasing our credit without any thought to ending the frivolous and thoughtless spending that brings us to the brink every few years will not fix the problem; it will only mask it. The “Golden Rules Out,” as author Peter Vessenes puts it, are our only way out.

“Simple facts are always the most overlooked. If you spend more than you make, you eventually will either be broke, enslaved to your creditors or become unethical in an attempt to survive.”

(Sound familiar?)

Vessenes continues, “Let us be plain. Our problems all revolved around the government’s insatiable addiction to spending, and the taxes they need to pay for it.” (The Golden Rules of Economics: The Real Way Out Of America’s Economic Crisis, 121)

Our government needs income (taxes) to carry out the basic functions originally set in place by our Constitution. We citizens need economic prosperity in order that our nation may be prosperous. We work hard for our money, and though paying taxes is not something we can legally choose to forgo, we want to (and have a right to) see that our money is spent ethically and responsibly. We have a right to a return for the money we invest.

Right now, our government asks for even more from a population whose earnings and buying power decreases by the day, thanks to burdensome regulations and anti-business approaches. We must fight for the “Golden Rules Out,” a set of simple solutions that have the potential to turn our economy around before it is indeed too late:

  1. Fight for Energy Autonomy. (Golden Rules, 93) We’re a resource-rich nation. Why are we enslaved to the oil of foreign lands? There’s a reason why the Saudi princes live in gold-plated palaces . . . just imagine how our own oil and natural gas could set us free.
  2.  Fight for Health Care Reform. (Golden Rules, 104) No, not the Obamacare monstrosity that stands to add another 2.5 trillion (with a T) to our national obligations. Instead, we must deal with this immense burden on our economy by advocating for market-based reforms, like the one just revealed by the GOP this past week.
  3. Fight for a dismantling of the Federal Bureaucracy. (Golden Rules, 109) Our government is like a bloated overeater after Thanksgiving. From federal funding for such idiocies as cowboy poetry, to the “’20 different entities that administer 160 programs, tax expenditures and other tools’ that support homeowners and renters,” there ARE ways to trim back in a big way. This is easier said than done, especially when our politicians and bureaucrats are reluctant to give up their posh jobs.
  4. Fight for a Rebuilding and Refocusing of National Defense and Foreign Affairs. (Golden Rules, 119). National Defense and Foreign Affairs are some of the few large-scale items that our federal government is constitutionally granted the power to carry out.  Defense is undeniably necessary—especially in this day and age of increased threats—but, it too wastes copious amounts of money and resources each year. We have to be smart about our spending. Especially in this post 9/11 world, there is no room for error; there is no room for sluggishness and wastefulness. As one reviewer of a book exposing Pentagon mismanagement put it, it “expose[s] the waste, cupidity, and, yes, occasional stupidity that can work together to produce weapons systems that are often grossly overpriced, don’t work, or are outmoded by the time they reach the troops who must use them.” Meanwhile many of our soldiers in Iraq—desperately in need of the MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles that withstand the infamous IEDs—died while waiting for them throughout that war. Especially in the war’s early years, soldiers were buying their own body armor. One report goes as far as to say that at one point, a quarter of our soldiers in the Iraq war zone lacked ceramic plated body armor. It’s not always just the mismanagement of our weapons and materials. The Daily Caller reported that among many unnecessary DOD expenditures in recent years, the Department of Defense gave $3.5 million dollars to the State of Washington to “purchase land around the [Joint Base Lewis-McChord] base to protect gophers that inhabit the area” while it “also gave Eglin Air Force Base in Florida $1.75 million to save a tortoise habitat.” These are recent examples, but the frivolity and inefficiency have been rampant for years. (See Sen. Tom Coburn’s “Department of Everything” report) Is that smart management of the funds allocated to keep our military in the best position it can possibly be? In these examples alone, we’ve got over five million dollars for gophers and tortoises, but the mission and our soldiers must go without? What’s more, our military approach is directed by a Pentagon which takes orders from an administration that isn’t remotely interested in winning, but rather in apologizing to the world for our very existence while simultaneously helping our enemies win their wars. Our foreign policy approach today is directed by a State Department once run by a woman who famously seethed what difference does it make! when questioned about the terrorist-caused deaths of 4 Americans in Benghazi; a State Department now run by a man who once referred to American soldiers in Iraq as terrorists. Is this truly effective management of the greatest fighting force on the planet, and the greatest beacon of freedom the world has ever seen? We can (and we have) do so much better.
  5. Fight for a Federal Budget that encompasses the above principles. (Golden Rules, 125) Taxes must promote prosperity, unnecessary spending must go, and our federal government must be reined in by the tried and true, short-and-sweet parameters that our Founders put in place. Just like our household budgets take into consideration our available income, necessities vs. wants, and future planning, our federal government should be no different. To be sure, our federal government is far more complex than our household, but the exact same principles hold true. What makes spending beyond one’s means suddenly “okay” just because it happens to be the federal government instead of an individual? Irresponsibility is irresponsibility (or, to use the President’s choice of words, profligacy is profligacy), no matter who (or what) it is.

Until then, our predicament remains the same as Jane Doe’s, who—even if she receives her credit increase—will soon have dug herself into a hole out of which there is no escape. Actions have consequences; we MUST fight for those that will save our country. Our futures are all at stake.

Fight for them.

Special thanks to Peter Vessenes for his permission to quote his work, and his guidance on this and so many other pieces.

2 thoughts on “The Debt’s in the Details, Part II

  1. Another great post, Mary. It makes me wonder about Nancy Pelosi’s comment about there being nothing left to cut when I read about all this foolish spending for idiotic things. Maybe she has never actually “read” the budget. I guess she’ll just have to wait to find out what it is until it’s passed. Could be a while. Thanks again for your insights.

    • Thanks Kathy!

      This is, of course, the same Nancy Pelosi who just yesterday said that the phrase “all men are created equal” is from the Constitution.

      Sigh.

      Somebody get her a copy of the Declaration of Independence.

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