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Can we really solve the National Deficit Issues? A Rant
Is The Deficit Bigger Than Us?
I will start this off with a warning. This is going to be a bit of a rant. I just read an article and while the article itself didn’t annoy me, I will admit some of the comments got me rather heated. It is a topic that is all to familiar with many people… the federal deficit, the economy, people in general and how we are going to deal with the subject. If this is something that will offend you, I will apologize immediately. I like to keep peace and I don’t necessarily like to ruffle other people’s feathers! On the other hand, I do like a good debate. I would appreciate any comments, positive or negative, that do not directly attack me as a person or as a writer. As I said, I am a person and with that, all people have their opinions. This is mine.
To start off, I am not a political person. I don’t like politics. It makes me think of adults as whiney little children fighting over something. When it comes to politics, we should get to the issues. That does not involve attacking other people. Therefore, I don’t typically like to follow politics. This being said, some of the things I say might not be completely, 100 percent accurate. The loveliness of the fact is, it is my opinion, and by definition, opinions are not fact.
This article I read was by New York Times Columnist David Leonhardt who is proposing his four options on how to bring down the federal deficit. As many people already know, Americans are in serious debt. This has been a problem for as long as I have known. Unfortunately, what can we do about the debt? Leonhardt’s suggestions are based off of four programs. This is his idea, and he states, “One, cuts to Medicare. Two, cuts to Social Security. Three, military cuts. Four, tax increases. Any budget expert will tell you that we simply cannot fix the deficit without doing at least one of those four”
Now I don’t discredit his thoughts. I believe that we can not wish the deficit away. We have to be proactive in order to fix this dilemma. The reason behind why these programs are targeted - because they are by far the biggest programs. He suggests “we clamp down on Medicare spending that hasn’t been shown to make people healthier. We can raise the retirement age for Social Security. We can reduce wasteful military spending; though, by itself, that won’t be enough.”
He has stated nothing wrong. This is just a solution to a very difficult problem, and with that comes the voices of many people and their ideas. What he did do was ask people which of the big four would they choose. While I have nothing against other people’s opinions, this is the part that heated me a little. Maybe I need to learn to be a little thicker skinned.
First issue he discussed is Medicare. Medicare by definition is a United States government health insurance for those 65 years of age or older, certain people with disabilities, and those with end-stage renal disease (like kidney failure). The second issue was social security. This is a federal program of benefits providing workers and their dependents with retirement income, disability income and other payments such as unemployment.
Overall, there wasn’t any negative comments about this section and taking away from these programs in order to cut the deficit seemed un-American. One person even stated, “Isn’t Social Security self-funding? For decades the surplus in Social Security taxes over the payout of benefits has been used illegitimately to make the real budget deficit to appear smaller… How is Social Security now part of the deficit problem?” I don’t believe these two issues to be part of the problem, in fact I applaud people who agree we shouldn’t take from these programs. These are programs that help ourselves. These programs are were American can and should be selfish. For once, we need to step back and help our citizens before we help every other human in the world. We can however skinny down the programs by finding what is beneficial and what does not work or is not needed.
This is were I get annoyed. They want to look at cutting these two programs, which are self funded by taxpayers for their own benefit. What about Welfare. Now I am not against people helping others. But unfortunately, welfare benefits are highly abused. To often do I hear the comment coming from people saying they must work to pay for all those on welfare. Don’t misjudge this. I am not cutting down the person who is struggling to make ends meet and needs a little extra assistance. But I believe the assistance should be a stepping stone to help a person better themselves. People using this assistance (and I might leave some out) can get Food Stamps, Free Healthcare, Energy Assistance, WIC, Housing Assistance and tons of other programs out there to help them. (Okay, I know these are not federally funded but the state funds could also benefit the deficit.) Why work, when you can get everything for free. I know people on assistance who have bigger televisions, cell phones, game systems, nicer vehicles, and every luxury known to man. How is that possible? If they make so much less than me, why does their quality of life seem so much better? This is a topic that irritates me (which I might do a whole new article on it separately), but that is all I am going to say. If we cut back on helping those who refuse to help themselves, imagine how much extra money we could have!
The third issue is cutbacks on military. This is a sensitive subject for me. I served in the United States Army for 5 years. (So I will be biased most likely) Those who have not served and those who don’t personally know someone who has served is always quick to short the military. The military is those men and women who are fighting for your freedom. They are the ones leaving their families behind so you can stay with yours. These men and women, and this includes those who are in and those who are veterans, don’t get nearly enough praise. On a personal note, being in the military, you don’t become rich and you still pay taxes, just the same as everybody else. In fact, a lot of military families are forced to use assistance because they don’t get paid nearly enough, and having a service member with undependable hours leaves the whole family to fend for themselves without a support system that many of us are used to. This means the spouse may be unable to work, not because they don’t want to, but finding a job can prove difficult when you are constantly moving!
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not for the war. I believe we should bring our soldiers home to their families. But, one person did say it perfectly, “Cut the military to be purely defensive, stop pretending we can police the world.” This being said, I believe we should cut back on spending by removing our resources from places we are no longer needed. I also believe we should stop giving foreign aid to those who will never pay us back. This does prove to be a problem, our foreign affairs gives us needed allies. Without them, there is no one willing to stand up with the United States. Will that cause us to be more vulnerable? Another person commented that “ALL military spending is a waste. If you don’t use what you spent the money on, then it’s a waste by definition. If you do use it, then it gets destroyed in the process along with the lives and property of many people.” Unfortunately, this is a problem. Without the tools that don’t get used, we will not be ready if they are ever needed. If they are needed, chances are high they will be destroyed. This topic is a waste. You might be able to cut back, but at what expense?
The final issue is taxes. As they say, the only thing certain in life is death and taxes. One person said we should get rid of the Bush era tax cuts, at least for the rich. Now I am not rich, but I am not poor enough to get assistance. Therefore, I am right in the middle. This same person said taxing the rich is “a no-brainer. Take a drive through any American suburb: you will see mile after mile of 6000-square-foot houses with four cars and a boat in the driveway. Those do not look to me like the homes of people whose taxes are too high!” I will agree, but, and there is always a but, these people have also worked hard for there money. How is that fair. Another person commented that “Taxing ‘the rich’ is the main response. Who gets to define ‘rich’? If I work more, I get paid more. But then I am taxed more, so my incentive for working is reduced. You people act as if money grows on trees. Why do you have such a strong dislike for other’s hard earned income? Quit finger pointing and pay 70-90% of your income to the legislature. I am sure they would be happy to spend it for you.”
When it comes to taxes, everyone should be treated equally. I already know, this is going to get some massive response. I will also admit, I envy those who have money, and frankly, if I were in their boat, I would gladly pay more taxes because I can afford it and still live my lifestyle. On the other hand, why should those who have worked hard to get were they are be punished. This is all of our debt! We are all responsible. So, they want to tax the rich, then they want to tax the middle class. Aren’t we missing part of the population. Those who don’t work because they make enough to live off assistance. They don’t have to pay in as much on taxes but I know they are quick to file their tax returns for their huge refund! Stop giving those who don’t earn a minimum a huge refund and watch the deficit drop. This refund is largely due to the child earned income credit. This is for people who have children and make below a certain amount of money. Unfortunately, rename it and call it what it is. It is for those to make money off their children. This is were the abundance of welfare children come from, so parents can get a higher tax return. (Okay, so you may notice that I am hostile about this, but that is because I have seen it being abused so much and I am sick of it. Yet, there is nothing that can be done to stop the abuse of the program!)
Now obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg for all of these issues. Unfortunately, my rant is getting lengthy and might start losing people (especially if they have already gotten this far). Overall, the main issue here is we need to fix this deficit. As a whole, it isn’t going to be up to the United States citizens, it will be up to those in office. While we may rant and rave over what our beliefs are, we truly do have very little say. We can state our opinion and hope that someone out there is listening enough to make a difference. Otherwise our words continue to float on being unheard.
The goal might be to fix the deficit now, but in reality, a debt that huge is going to take several years to get down. What we need to do is look at all the areas of government spending and cut out the waste, not just the four mentioned here. While a penny doesn’t seem like much, it does add up over time.
The Article that provoked it all!
- If you want to lower the deficit... | Marketplace From American Public Media
New York Times columnist David Leonhardt presents four options to bring the federal deficit down.
Of the four big items, what would you choose to help relieve the deficit?
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