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Party Lines: The aftermath of the debt debate
by Ben Horsley
Aug 20, 2011 | 981 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Now that the debt ceiling debate is over, the crisis has been averted. Right? WRONG!

If you are now sleeping better as a result of the compromise that was brokered, it is time to wake up. I am no alarmist, however, I can do math and this deal does nothing to stem the tide of the rude awakening our nation is about to receive because of the fiscal mess our politicians have gotten us into.

Think I am being too extreme? The Standard & Poor’s didn’t seem to think so when they downgraded our nation’s credit rating for the first time in U.S. history. The financial markets didn’t think it was extreme enough and the markets dropped significantly over the next few days after the deal was reached.

Consider this situation in comparison to your own personal finances. If you were overspending your income by 50 percent and had personal debt that was five times your annual income, what do you think a bank would say to you when you wanted to extend your line of credit?

Apparently, our esteemed political leaders thought that simply slashing 20 percent of their overspending with “promises” of more cuts to come would suffice. They were wrong and now all of our 401k’s are paying for it. Not only that, our nation’s interest rates will skyrocket following the downgrade in our credit, so we will be paying for that as well.

Congress and the President have simply retorted, “We have a SUPER committee!” The increase in the debt ceiling came with another committee that will make suggested cuts in spending to reduce our deficit further. President Obama balked at the idea of a Balanced Budget Amendment that would curb spending to the limits of our actual revenue. But he signed on in support of a super committee? This committee is doing the job our Congressman and Senators should have been doing all along.

Congress is polarized and for good measure. The Republican delegation from our state voted no on this deal and they were right. It does not go far enough to resolve this financial crisis. Liberals simply want to spend more and attempt to scare seniors out of their Social Security and Medicare. Our nation is fractured by those who want to spend us into oblivion and those who want to balance the budget. What is disappointing is that we don’t have the leadership to do either.

Even more sad, the fact that some Americans actually think Social Security will be around for them. If you are part of my generation, Social Security is a myth. I have not ever and will not ever count on it. I have been saving for my retirement since my mid-20s knowing that Social Security will never be there for me.

It is simple math that previous generations seemed to understand. You can’t spend more money than you have. We need all solutions on the table, including changes to our tax systems, elimination of loopholes and out of date deductions, and even adjustments to our entitlement programs.

More importantly, we need real leadership to meet the challenges that our nation faces.

Some may feel that I have made the situation sound hopeless. However, the only hopelessness I feel for this situation, is the apathy I find around us. Those who refuse to engage themselves in the political process. Real engagement means more than just showing up to vote annually. It means calling your elected officials, attending meetings and holding politicians accountable to whatever your desire is.

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