WASHINGTON, August 26, 2012 ― The Republican and Democratic National Conventions are drawing closer, and Americans will be watching intently.
As the conventions convene, one issue that weighs heavily on the voters’ minds is which presidential candidate will cut federal spending and lower the national deficit. Both major-party nominees (presumptive) claim that they have plans to do just that. Their willingness and ability to make the necessary tough decisions leaves us unconvinced.
President Obama, if elected to a second term, will make no serious attempts to cut spending. In just his first term he has already accumulated more debt than any other previous administration. This has been the result of many policies and actions taken by the president. First, he signed off on a stimulus program that has not helped to revive our economy.
Second is the costly entitlement program, “Obamacare,” that was forced upon the American public despite massive displays of public disapproval. Third, wars and armed conflicts persist despite candidate Obama’s promises to extricate the United States from such undertakings. If granted a second term, Obama will continue to print and spend money that we don’t have, further degrading our currency and jeopardizing economic recovery.
If Mitt Romney is fortunate enough to unseat President Obama, there is no doubt that he will try to push his vice presidential nominee’s Fiscal Year 2013 House Budget Resolution, the “Ryan Plan,” through Congress. Liberals and progressives, believing it to be the product of Randian thinking, have accused the plan of being draconian in its proposed cuts.
In reality, the Ryan Plan falls far short of necessary reductions; for example, it allows the federal government’s budget to remain unbalanced until 2040, 27 years from now. Further, the official report estimates that in the first ten years of the implementation of the plan, it will add $3.1 trillion to the national debt.
Ryan’s plan does not allow for cutting certain parts of the federal budget. Pentagon spending, which has the second largest share of the nation’s budget after entitlements, actually increases under Ryan’s plan. The plan is based on the erroneous assumption that America has unlimited time to control its spending habits and deficit.
Where can our federal government start cutting to help alleviate the crushing burden of debt? Foreign policy offers a plethora of cost-cutting possibilities. Currently, the United States is embedded in 150 countries accompanied by 900 military bases. The price of maintaining this overseas empire is approximately $1 trillion per year. The United States might consider relinquishing the role of the “world policeman,” focusing first on self-defense and using taxpayer monies to rebuild American infrastructure before that of other nations.
Other potential candidates for the chopping block include America’s alphabet soup of agencies, such as the Departments of Education, Energy, and Homeland Security, each of which might be abolished. Each of these agencies cost billions of dollars a year, but fails to yield significant results. Services such as education and energy might be better dealt with by the states than by the federal government, which consistently proposes one size fits all policies without regard for the specific requirements and needs of the individual states.
The Department of Homeland Security, price tag $57 billion, has stripped the American people of their civil liberties, and has failed to provide Americans with adequate security following the 9/11 attacks. Homeland Security also funds the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), which, to the outrage of many Americans, has instituted a “groping and fondling” policy as their best solution to deter would-be terrorists at American airports (hence the agency’s derisive nickname, “T&A”). Such oversight organizations should be thoroughly and objectively reevaluated and swiftly dismantled if we find that cost outweighs benefit.
In short, the United States can no longer continue to throw good taxpayer money after bad.
Neither candidate for the presidency has a serious plan to slash federal spending and significantly reduce our deficit. As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney increased spending by 5 percent every year. Paul Ryan, who claims to be a fiscal conservative and “deficit hawk,” voted for a laundry list of spending initiatives, such as: TARP, Medicare Part D, raising the debt ceiling, and our current conflicts overseas. President Obama has already accumulated more debt than any previous administration and has shown no serious attempts to cut spending.
It is foolish to believe that either of these men is going to pull us out of the current economic dilemma when their actions speak louder than their “plans.”
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