What is "Enough"?
By: Wayne Brown
We have a new plan for job creation and economic recovery on the table courtesy of the current President of the United States. He has clamored for Congress to get moving and pass the legislation associated with it assuring everyone that the costs associated with the plan are already covered. In essence, we will be completing Stage Two of the Ongoing Stimulus Spending leaving the American taxpayers with a bill of over $1.3 trillion dollars and little else to show for the money. Some would say that is “not enough” on either side of the aisle…not enough spent and not enough received for the money.
So when is “enough” really enough? Is it not time that we as taxpayers begin to ask this question. We are in our third fiscal year now as a country operating without a budget basically just paying the bill when it shows up with the money on hand or whatever we can borrow to pay it with at the time. When is enough really enough?
There are those who talk of the necessity to spend more money on education, infrastructure, job creation, welfare programs, unemployment, housing subsidies, the homeless, abortions…the list goes on and on. Any program which offers them the security of being sponsored by the federal government is worthy of their praise and admiration. It is well worth any freedoms demanded in return for its implementation. But when are there enough government-sponsored programs in this country?
The President has said that his plan is paid for time and again. Now we hear that he has simply tacked it on the back of the cuts in spending he has tasked the Super Committee to find in the existing “non-budget” of the federal government. The fallback being that all of it will be paid for in increased taxes if the committee fails in its mission, which it is highly likely to do. In the end, we have nothing but a convoluted bunch of activity and probably a bit more spending only to end up raising taxes to pay the bill. In my house, we don’t call a plan like that, “paid for”.
What is the motivation for anyone to want to send more money to Washington in the present state of affairs? Washington, by law, spends every dime it takes in today and then borrows an additional 42 cents out of every dollar spent by the federal government. So how much is “enough” money in that regard? Is it enough to cover the 42 cents…that seems the logical answer which may cross some folks’ mind but is it truly the answer. Today, if we provide enough money to cover the spending of the government, what’s to say that our elected officials won’t just look for more things to spend money on and continue to borrow in order to spend? There is nothing which guarantees that possibility yet a stop-gap on spending is the only way that we start to heal financially and actually start applying some of the revenue stream to debt reduction.
So how do we define “enough” in America today? We cannot define it by our approach to education which has absorbed billions upon billions of dollars over decades yet the quality and the results go down. Money apparently is not the answer yet it is the only solution we seemingly apply. Can we measure it in terms of infrastructure spending? That would be doubtful too. How many times have you seen the decal on the back of a semi-trailer going down the highway that says, “This vehicle pays more than $8600 annual in road taxes”? Think of all those tractors and trailers….by the latest count well on its way to the 2 million units count on tractors alone. All that money which is designated for use on roads and bridges but where is it really being spent? I am not sure anyone knows but according to the President, we are allowing our infrastructure to crumble because we are not spending any money on it. So the money we take in for things like road tax and gasoline tax gets spent on other things besides what the original intention was for that revenue. We really do not have an area within our federal government in which we can say that the money spent there is sufficient and enough to resolve the issue.
What it really comes down to here is three things initially. One is America is way over due to have a real budget in place which defines the amount of money to be designated for a given item. Two, there must be spending caps put in place to keep the lid on overspending. There may not be enough money in the kitty but what you have is all you have to work with in this budget….make the budget fit the revenue or at least initially cap the spending as such that the amount of money needed to be borrowed is significantly reduced. Finally, when the first two steps have been repeated a few times, put in place legislation requiring a “balanced budget” at the federal level. Eventually, we will come to know what the real meaning of “enough” is at the federal level.
Our current crop of elected officials seem to want to make a career of living off the public dole, enjoying specialized benefits and six figure salaries along with a very tidy retirement package for a minimum level of service. But who can blame them…the American taxpayer has sat back and allowed them to steal us blind for decade upon decade without check. Now we have elected officials who can think in no other terms except spending taxpayer dollars in such a manner as to get themselves re-elected so they can continue to bask in the power and enjoy the riches of their profession while Americans are left to watch their country go to hell on flat-screen televisions. Whatever happened to our sense of responsibility as citizens and taxpayers…when did we give up control and start working for them?
Today, in America, in terms of the amount of revenue necessary to maintain a function federal government, the term “enough” is not a definable term and does not exist in the terminology of our elected elite. This is the root cause of all our problems today…tax and spend and then spend some more because we have not yet spent enough. Regulate, regulate, and spend some more money to regulate so it becomes increasing more difficult for business to sustain itself at a profitable level and tends to make the government the center of the world…a focus the founding fathers never intended.
As responsible citizens, we must change this attitude and this approach to being governed. We still have the power to vote and change the complexion of things in our federal government. We have the ability to hire and fire along with having the ability to also have some say in making the rules. But, first and foremost, we must vote and we must vote in a manner that insures those who g o to represent us in Washington in any office understand the meaning of the word, “enough”.
America can get back on its feet economically but it must come from job creation in the private sector. It must come from jobs which are established by a “business need” for those services…something which temporary government spending will not accomplish in any area for any length of time. At present, it is the opinion of those in high office that our federal government has not done “enough” in the way of job creation and economic growth yet that same government continues to generate regulations and reforms such as healthcare which stymie the private sector in fear of any expansion and growth. In essence, we have a government spending money to stimulate on a temporary basis but regulating on a long-term permanent basis in such as to offset any temporary efforts to motivate. Given that scenario, our federal government has finally come to a definition of the word, “enough”. Yes, enough if not completely too much…government.
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