We the sheeple have now had over 3 full days to start finding out “what’s in the bill” as Queen Nancy likes to say. Needless to say, buyer’s remorse is strong from both the left and right. All sides claimed victory with this “historic” legislation. Yet, it’s beyond indisputable that nobody won anything. Particularly not the American public. We have a NIMBY (not in my back yard) budget in which nobody wants cuts that affect them.
So we got $38.5 billion in supposed tax cuts for the remainder of the 2011FY budget ending on Sept. 30th. That’s just under 6 months, but for argument’s sake we’ll go ahead and count it as a full half a year. That’s slightly over $6 billion per month. Surely you’ve heard the left claim $78 billion from the Obama proposed budget levels, but that budget was never even introduced so that’s just more games and sleight of hand.
Boehner and his gang are now saying don’t sweat it, that was just a warm-up. They’re really going to get serious now with the debt limit and 2012 budget battles. He says the next budget fight will be over trillions in cuts, not billions. Yet we haggled for months and went right to the deadline of a government shutdown for $6 billion a month. We had threats of people dying in the streets, the GOP wanting women dead and the now infamous Cowboy Poets without a festival to honor them. Can you imagine the threats when you add three more zero’s to the conversation?
A little quick calculator math tells us that to even discuss a one trillion dollar reduction in the deficit for a single year of the budget will require over $83 billion per month. And that’s still not going to get us to a balanced budget for even one year. We need over $1.5 trillion just to get to even. That doesn’t even start to put a dent in reducing our $14 trillion dollar debt or the interest on it.
Can I see a show of hands of how many of you think we will get anywhere remotely close to these numbers? We’re looking at cutting the budget by well over $100 billion per month to get to the point of a balanced budget, paying the federal debt interest and actually paying down the debt itself. Say it together now. Not. Gonna. Happen.
As we’re about to find out tomorrow, Obama now feels safe enough to introduce the tax hike argument. Well see if he still sticks to his campaign pledges not to hike them on the middle class. If his proposal only includes tax hike proposals on the “rich”, we’ll know right away he’s not serious about anything. Either way, I certainly don’t expect anything concrete from him, just more talk in generalities. Not that I support tax hikes, mind you, just that the idea to hike them on the rich only argument is worn out.
This much we know. Our politicians have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt they aren’t serious about fixing the budget. I have no doubt the American people are also nowhere near prepared for what cuts need to take place and the effect it will have on their lives. That’s the real debate in this fight. With the exception of the few uber-rich and otherwise well-connected, you will feel the effects of cuts of substance. It will affect your life. You will have to do without something you’re accustomed to. For some of us, those cuts would be fatal in the sense that they will remove their economic lifeline. Those people will have to migrate to other methods of social support whether it be family or friends or the church. There will be horror stories to be sure. That is the price to pay for creating an unsustainable government safety net.
Paul Ryan has introduced his GOP “Path to Prosperity”. This will be the equivalent of Obamacare for the left. Entirely unacceptable. Yet, even in this plan which is considered pie in the sky, Ryan doesn’t go nearly far enough. The employment estimates he uses are entirely too low. Without a doubt, the left will highlight all of the methodology shortcomings in it in the near future.
That’s still down the road. First will be the debt limit sometime next month. Another government shutdown will likely be threatened. The point is that the fights in Washington are all the rage and full of heated rhetoric and for what? Inconsequential spending reductions, that’s what. The day will come when the fight we see in the news everyday will be forcibly taken off the table. That happens when the economic reality of where we’re headed dictates that the time for pro-actively deciding the budget cuts will be gone. Today we get to argue about what and where to cut. That option goes away when we reach a point of no return. Which, amazingly enough, both sides are in agreement we are heading for. Yet they still fight the stale old job security fight in which re-election still takes priority over all.
So, don’t worry. If you’re tired of listening to the same old, same old on the news every night, the day is coming when it will end. Then it will just be how to pick up the pieces of what’s leftover. As of yet, no one, and I mean no one, has introduced the type of comprehensive plan that addresses all concerns. The debt, the debt interest, the deficits, entitlements, energy, defense and employment are the basics. We need a plan that addresses all options with detailed solutions and reasonable projections taking into account the unknown. Yes, future wars and natural disasters have to be factored in. You don’t have to know what they will be to know that you must build in buffer space to prepare for them. The proposals we have on the table are nowhere near comprehensive enough, not detailed enough, use projections that are just too rosy, and don’t account for the unknown.
The problem is no one in office currently or anyone running for office is likely to put this out either through the inability to even compile it or not wanting to stand for the scrutiny a realistic plan would certainly incur. The reason is no mystery. You won’t like it. If it’s any good, you really won’t like it. Because you will pay. That’s just the way it is. The price we pay for living large all these decades without regard to the fallout. We always hope it’s a future generation that has to really bite the bullet and make the hard choices, but it’s looking as if we’ll be the lucky one’s to do it.