Pin It
Favorite

Tiny Nibbles 

We'll never eat away at the federal deficit if we only take one bite at a time.

click to enlarge art16206.jpg

Compared to this, Egypt was easy. With protestors back to work in Cairo, Barack Obama returned to tend the homefires this week. No biggie — just the nation’s $1.5 trillion budget deficit.

It’s kind of like finally opening up that bill and looking at the damage on your Visa statement after a particularly generous Christmas. Only in the case of these United States, it’s been a bender of epic, unprecedented proportions — 10 years of unchecked spending on everything from wars to vast, new federal bureaucracies to Wall Street bailouts. Now the bill’s due. Bummer.

The president’s budget has some brutal news for the states, which are already flailing, and for the poor, whose safety net is being dismantled. Meanwhile, Republicans on Capitol Hill say it’s not brutal enough — that their plan is tougher on the deficit they helped create.

Both sides, however, are just nibbling at the edges. Anybody who has looked at the federal budget notices something pretty obvious pretty quickly — discretionary spending is just a small slice. And that’s where the president and his opponents are fiddling — nobody is talking about the gorillas in the room: entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security) and defense.

The recent Federal Deficit Commission saw the problem, and it found $4 trillion in savings over the coming decade. Trouble is, the members of the commission are all retired politicians.

No current office-holder who wants to keep his government-run health care plan will touch the idea of gradually extending the retirement age for Social Security to 69 (as the commission recommended).

As long as these big-ticket items remain untouchable sacred cows, our $1.5 trillion annual budget deficit will be impossible to tame. It’d be like an everyday American family being notified they are losing their house and, to work their way out, they decide to cut HBO out of their cable TV package — but not Showtime, that stays!

Obama has correctly pointed out that the entitlements in the budget need to be tackled cooperatively. No one party will take it on for fear of being painted as anti-Social Security in the next election. As Obama put it, both sides need to get in the boat together, at the same time, so as not to capsize the whole thing.

So as you hear all the talk over whether $30 billion or $100 billion in cuts are enough, be skeptical. That’s barely scratching the surface of our problem.

  • Pin It

Speaking of...

  • Recall and Response
  • Recall and Response

    The attempt to remove Spokane Mayor David Condon from office may be a long shot, but he isn't taking any chances
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • From the Bottom Up
  • From the Bottom Up

    Where the strength of our society truly resides
    • Jun 9, 2016
  • Ugly Breakup
  • Ugly Breakup

    The long-running rift between the mayor and the city council president just got worse
    • Jun 9, 2016
  • More »

Latest in Comment

  • Class Act
  • Class Act

    Seeing through money differences can build relationships focused on fairness
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Don's Ultimate Con
  • Don's Ultimate Con

    Trail Mix: Trump's birther problems and Johnson's polls
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Transparent Motives
  • Transparent Motives

    One candidate's an open book; the other is shrouded in secrecy. Guess which one isn't transparent enough
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 6

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • After the Deluge
  • After the Deluge

    Cleaning up Trump's hot mess is going to take some heroic leadership
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • <b>From Crimson &#10;to Purple</b>
  • From Crimson to Purple

    Bob Gregory was a Spokane-bred Cougar through and through; now he's prowling the sidelines for the Huskies
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • Staying Engaged
  • Staying Engaged

    From the Mayfair Cafe to Central Park
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation