by Ed Mattson
Well it’s happened. The President slithered off to the White House to sign into law the budget deficit compromise which validated a total failure of government. Then Senator Obama himself said on March 20, 2006…
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops’ here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”
…and that was just five short years ago when the deficit was $7.384 billion. Seven debt limit increases in five years have now brought the debt to $14.2 trillion. Between Bush and Obama, malfeasance in office would be the lesser charge one could bring to bear.
The media is running around blaming the entire affair on the Tea Party, calling them “economic Jihadist or terrorists”, because they were so adamant about coming to grips with REALITY. I am not a genius but anyone can see:
- The federal government is out of control
- The federal government is fiscally irresponsible
- The government is made-up of self-aggrandizing morons who couldn’t run a popsicle stand
- Washington DC is controlled by the lobbyist of special interest groups and big business who use extortion, blackmail, and bribes to get legislation to perpetuate their selfish interests.
- …and that the real energy to run the American economy, small private-sector business, which provides up to 80% of the jobs, are being regulated and taxed out of any incentive to hire and expand their businesses. The class warfare promulgated by this White House and media is so far off-base it is criminal.
“Tax the rich” (defined as income over $250,000 that includes almost all small private sector businesses); Tax the corporate jet owners (there are only about 11,000 corporate jet owners in the whole world); and take all the money from the billionaires…that’s the rhetoric, yet Obama was planning to fly Chicago to celebrate his birthday with those same folks to get money for his 2012 re-election fund. Talk from both sides of the mouth? By the way, if you tax all of the super rich at a rate of 100% (that means take all their income), it still won’t pay the interest on the federal debt!
Many will be upset about even discussing the facts, but the truth is that the government borrows 40¢ of every dollar it spends, and folks, that’s suicide! Spending is the problem and drastic cuts have to be made. If you want to hear it from the horse’s mouth, spend a couple of minutes to watch Dr. Garvin’s YouTube video which has already been seen by nearly one million Americans by going HERE. If you are a veteran, a worker, retired, or are unemployed, every American needs to watch this video.
Dr. Garvin is right…Congressional leaders simply don’t get it. In fact they have tried to elevate their status to nobility when they declare themselves as “career politicians”. The President is absolutely clueless as are the Cabinet members, the Czars, and all the other hangers-on inside the Beltway, who have not one ounce of practical real-life experience. Other than politics, they have never produced a product, never had to make a payroll, never created a commodity, or done much of anything to contribute to society outside the cushy environment of non-accountability called government. Most of those who are not career politicians are “acclaimed academicians”, who have just witnessed abject failure in their Keynesian policies and are now returning to those gloried halls of education to continue teaching their failed policies and theories. It is a perverse situation.
Where do we go from here and how does all this affect the veteran?
As I mentioned in several previous articles, the Defense Department budget which exceeds $700 billion dollars, is right in the center of the periscope and many in Washington want to fire the torpedo. In its defense of expenditures that dwarf the entire military budgets of the rest of the world, the military is willing to put up the veteran as the sacrificial lamb. They can condemn the terrorists all they want for hiding behind innocent women and children to keep from being shot, but is throwing the veteran under the bus any different?
Proposed changes in military veteran benefits include $80 billion in all forms of military compensation and benefits, retirement pay, survivor benefits, the GI Bill for Selective Reservists, and Tricare for Life for older military retirees.
The focus should be on the real cuts that can be made like eliminating new super-weapons systems; military contractor waste, over-charging, and fraud (remember those $600 hammers); base closures; knocking off the concept of the US’s role as global policeman; and ending the wars in the Middle East. My great concepts BUT they will be the last to go given the power of money handed out by the industrial complex that drives our military spending. Now that’s real “corporate welfare”!
The irony of all this moronic thinking is the gall these legislative bozos have in the first place. Any fool by now knows we need to reign-in spending. Here’s my suggestions:
- Change legislator’s compensation from $174,000 per year to $124,000 per year, but build in a bonus of $50,000, IF they balance the budget and meet the downsizing recommendation listed below.
- Eliminate the lucrative healthcare program the legislators have created for themselves. We can let any small business leader help them create an HMO or PPO just like the rest of us live with.
- Review the lucrative retire program afford these guys. In 1986 they were required to pay 1.3% into the Federal Employee Retirement System. Today the average retirement compensation is about $35,000 per year, but as high as $60,000 for others. The average for a citizen on Social Security is $14,000. Why do politicians have their own program and not lumped into Social Security with the rest of us? Most of us paying into a 401K program contribute more than 1.3% of our income.
A farmer understands the need to clean his barn before other tasks are under taken. Why can’t politicians figure it out?
- End the system of “privilege”. Insure that Congress lives within the same rules and regulations they make for of the rest of us.
- Force Congress to cut their staffs by 50%. There were approximately 12,000 staffers in 2000 and probably a lot more than that these days.
- Analyze then cut and consolidate the 600 redundant and duplicate government programs as outlined by the GAO.
- FREEZE government hiring and reduce total government employment by 30% through attrition by retirement and termination.
- Reassess the need for the Departments of Energy, Education, Interior (I covered the reasons in previous articles), and reduce the other cabinet departments budgets by 20%.
- Sell off or lease federal lands for energy exploration (this would create several million jobs and broaden the tax base).
- Eliminate the investment tax credit so people will invest in new companies and be able to reap the reward of their investment. They already pay too much in taxes.
If we could hold the politician’s feet to the fire accomplishing the above they might actually be busy enough to earn their pay check and live up to the commitments made to the military and veterans.
Following his service in the Marine Corps Ed Mattson built a diverse career in business in both sales/marketing and management. He is a medical research specialist and published author. His latest book is Down on Main Street: Searching for American Exceptionalism
Ed is currently Development Director of the National Guard Bureau of International Affairs-State Partnership Program, Fundraising Coordinator for the Warrior2Citizen Project, and Managing Partner of Center-Point Consultants in North Carolina.
Mr. Mattson is a noted speaker and has addressed more than 3000 audiences in 42 states and 5 foreign countries. He has been awarded the Order of the Sword by American Cancer Society, is a Rotarian Paul Harris Fellow and appeared on more than 15 radio and television talk-shows.
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