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Too much spending

Posted: January 27, 2011 11:34 a.m.
Updated: January 28, 2011 5:00 a.m.

There are lots of Kershaw County residents who no doubt are wondering exactly when “investing” became a synonym for “spending.” Politicians -- especially free-spending ones -- no longer want to talk about increasing spending, couching it instead in the “investing” light. President Obama took that tack Tuesday night during his State of the Union speech, advocating a series of spending measures on education, research, transportation and technology.

Obviously, with the economy still struggling mightily, it’s a difficult time to talk about decreasing spending; nobody wants to go down a road which could retard a recovery. But all the talk from Obama about investing money in the country’s future ignored one centerpiece of voter discontent that led to the Democratic debacle in November: we are spending too much money too rapidly, and we need to go on a financial diet.

The president’s idea of scaling back is to freeze spending – discretionary spending, that is, which is a relatively small portion of outlays -- at current levels, which are up a staggering amount since Obama took office. Indeed, last year and this year combined the country will run up a cataclysmic deficit of nearly $3 trillion. So freezing spending at current levels is the perfect example of the old saying “closing the barn door after the horse has gotten out.” Spending must be brought down, and it can’t be done without addressing defense, Social Security and Medicare. Those three categories consume such a vast percentage of all spending that leaving them alone and trying to cut in other areas is mere window dressing.

President Obama is one of the best we have ever seen at standing up and paying lip service to one thing while advocating something entirely different. Lawmakers in Washington need to get serious about bringing the deficit under control rather than increasing our “investment.”

 

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