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Deficit disaster

Posted: November 16, 2010 5:13 p.m.
Updated: November 17, 2010 5:00 a.m.

Earlier this month, Americans provided one of the most resounding no-confidence-in-government votes in history, turning out the majority party in nearly unprecedented fashion. Voters in the 5th District, which includes Kershaw County, sent home Rep. John Spratt, a Washington fixture who portrayed himself as a fiscal conservative but was a part of the big-spending Washington culture. Only a few days later, the Bipartisan Commission on Deficit Reduction floated some of its proposals to lower the murderous deficit that both Republicans and Democrats have run up in the past few years. No sooner were the recommendations made public that members of both parties began attacking them. To be sure, there was criticism from the right, but the most vocal outrage came from Democrats, who apparently learned nothing from the shellacking -- that’s what the president called it, right? -- they got in the polls.

The commission made a few common-sense proposals -- nothing’s perfect, we all understand -- that included both raising taxes and cutting spending. Few people of reason fail to understand that some of both must be done in order to bring the deficit under control. Nancy Pelosi dismissed the recommendations from the outset, while many members of both parties decried the proposals as unworkable. The chairmen of the commission are Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator, and Erskine Bowles, a former member of the Clinton administration – that’s right, the one that delivered large budget surpluses only a few years ago. Both men are reasonable, intelligent and savvy when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars.

Many in Washington claim nothing should be done with Social Security and Medicare, both of which are driving the country into insolvency, their positions resolute despite the fact that any age restrictions on Social Security would be pushed so far into the future that they would provide no political liability. And those who criticized revenue increases and spending cuts offered no viable alternatives to the bloated deficits which threaten the country.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who had steadfastly defended earmarks, finally read the mood of the electorate earlier this week and said he would join many senators in opposing them; his switch was no doubt a reflection of voter dissatisfaction. We hope Americans will make their voices heard loudly and clearly that something has to be done about the deficit, and if this newly elected Congress fails to heed the will of the public, there will be a second consecutive “throw the bums out” election in 2012.

 

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