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By Russell Buckley


July 29, 2011 (La Mesa)--Our nation is in a tough spot. Our government has run up an unprecedented level of debt that many Americans now realize will become unsustainable in the very near future. Too, the interest on Government debt precludes more spending on progressive social programs.


Much of the debt has been incurred in very recent years. In 2006, it was about eight trillion dollars. Once the debt ceiling is increased (and it surely will be) our debt will have doubled to 16 trillion - in a short six years! There is no plan on the table right now that will not add many trillions more to the debt over the next few years.


The interest on the debt this year is over $200 billion - and that is with record low interest rates. That number stands to grow quickly and considerably as interest rates return to more normal levels. Just think how much social justice $200 billion or maybe $400 billion could buy.


Missed opportunity to use the interest money for better things than supporting China is one thing. But at some point, likely not far away, the spending caused debt, which is slated to increase by over a trillion every year of the forecast, will become absolutely unsustainable. Even those Americans who understand that we are dangerously close to destroying our economy don't agree about how to go about reducing deficit spending. We are divided into two camps. One wants to solve the problem by increasing taxes and one wants to solve it by reducing spending.


Republicans have certainly been participants in some of our past deficit spending. However, they seem absolutely responsible compared with recent Democratic Party behavior. Remember that in the final year the Democrats held the House (and Senate and Oval office) they didn't even propose a budget - the first time since the budget act of 1974 that had happened. The Democrat controlled Senate is going into its third year without a budget.


The budget proposed by the President earlier this year did nothing to reduce the deficit and was defeated in the Senate by a 97 - 0 vote. When the Republicans tried to cut a relatively small $60 billion from this year's budget the Democrats cried foul and pointed out that the real savings is in entitlements. When the Republicans passed Paul Ryan's' detailed plan to make some real inroads in our excess spending, that included changes in Medicare, Democrats portrayed him as wanting to push Grandma off a cliff.


The nearly One Trillion dollar stimulus bill the Democrats passed in early 2009 - quickly, secretly, and with no Republican input, didn't stimulate much because it was mostly political paybacks and not stimulus. It is clear to me that Democrats, even now, have little interest in curbing excess spending at all. I surmise that their larger strategy is to quietly continue spending, until a major tax increase is inevitable. They will find that we can't raise taxes enough to get ourselves out of trouble.

Maintaining Federal Government spending at record high levels as a percent of GNP will continue to strangle private sector initiative and inhibit job creation. A tax increase will also inhibit job creation. So that leaves reducing spending as our best alternative. Republicans want to bring spending down to the levels that, until recently, have prevailed since WWII.


Some of the "cuts" necessary to get there will likely mean fewer government jobs. My belief is that reduced government spending will produce a more robust economy that will create jobs in numbers that will more than compensate for government job loss. I refer the reader to two "laboratories of democracy", Texas and California, to illustrate that point. I would simultaneously lessen job-killing regulations and take the wraps off the domestic energy industry. That would create many good paying jobs, reduce dependency of foreign oil, improve the strength of the dollar, increase tax collections, and reduce the trade imbalance with other countries.


While there is no easy solution to the situation we find ourselves in, there is a clear one. We can continue along our present path and wait for national bankruptcy. We can increase taxes - and that is a job (and freedom) killer - especially in a recession. Or we can decrease spending and ease regulation. The third path certainly seems best to me.

The views expressed in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact

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