Only in our nation’s capital could you cut less than one-half of 1 percent of the annual federal budget (the so-called “sequester”), and then head home and call it a day while the nation sits in bewilderment. The “principals” in this matter still have not gathered at any real table to discuss this serious financial situation in recent weeks.
The national debt stands somewhere between $11 trillion and $30 trillion depending on how you calculate it. But these sequester cuts are aimed almost entirely at what’s called the “discretionary” portion of the budget, not the “mandatory” spending, “entitlement” program portion. Not to mention, these cuts are aimed straight at the Department of Defense for the second time in one year. There’s no rhyme, reason or logic behind these small overall cuts, with the disproportionately larger share hitting the defense base, jobs and national security.
Folks, this is not rocket science. The government spent nearly $2 trillion on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest on the national debt in 2012.
Our federal government is spending $10 billion each and every day. We are taking in $6 billion each day in taxes to cover these expenditures —a $4 billion gap per day.
Meanwhile, we have 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day. That’s one every 14 seconds. This trend will continue for the next 18 years. To say this is unsustainable would be the greatest understatement in a generation.
You could not run your personal family finances this way, your business finances this way, and heck, not even a hot-dog stand this way. But we are running our nation’s federal government and assets this way.
It all reminds me of that line when they asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks? His infamous response: “’Cause that’s where the money is.”
It is about the next generation. What kind of messages are we going to send Washington, and what kind of leaders will the taxpayers send them?
First, it is critical to develop a meaningful strategy moving forward these coming months. As part of that plan, we must reign in the out-of-control government spending, reform the ridiculous tax code and, when it comes to the aforementioned entitlement spending, strengthen and protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for retirees, those nearing retirement and the truly needy, while also reforming these programs for those younger workers in their 40s and younger.
It’s time to end the true insanity that is running the soul of our country right now. It’s a national embarrassment, and the world is watching. Let’s reform the system, pass a reasonable bipartisan plan (akin to the “Bowles Simpson Commission,” which has been on the table for more than a year), and then move on to the other important issues facing this country and your wallet! The time to act is now.
Schwarz, of Chatham County served as an aide to U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston. He is the managing principal of Pier Strategies LLC, a business-consulting firm based in Savannah and has formed an exploratory committee for the GA-1 U.S. House seat election in 2014.