Sequestration and the Budget

2 Mar

As many of you know, sequestration or spending cuts have taken effect.  While I believe that we need to take steps to solve our deficits, I don’t think sequestration as a whole is the right approach to our deficit.

We need to deal with our long-term deficit, but there are ways of dealing with it without hurting our recovery.  The tax increases in the fiscal cliff deal will help, but these are nowhere near what we need to tackle our deficit.  I don’t believe we should be looking at cuts in government spending right now unless they are targeted in a way that won’t hurt the recovery.  Republicans keep saying that we don’t want to end up like Greece or the rest of Europe, but what Republicans are proposing is very similar to the austerity measures in Europe.  European countries enacted cuts during the Great Recession.  The results have been disastrous.  Some of the countries have slipped back into a recession because of the cuts.  During a recession governments should focus on growing rather than dealing with deficits.

As it is, fewer tax dollars are being collected because of the recession.  Budget cuts impact the deficit more without damaging the economy when we have recovered from the Great Recession.  Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean we can’t deal with the deficit in other ways.  We could end subsidies to oil companies and fix our tax code to generate more revenue.  Big oil and multi-billion dollar companies don’t need a tax benefit to stay functional.  G.E. for example has not only avoided paying taxes, they receive money through our tax system.  Fixing this problem isn’t just about tax fairness; it’s a small step we could take towards dealing with our deficit.

In the long-term, I think we will have to adjust our entitlements so that they can have longevity.  In the 1980’s congress and President Ronald Reagan worked together on Medicare Reform so that the program could stay solvent.  We need to make changes to our entitlements in the near future.  This by no means we need to privatize everything, it just means we need to make changes like raising the retirement age by one year.  There are many options on the table that are viable options, but Paul Ryan’s budget is not one of them.  The deficit needs to be dealt with but we need to be putting most if not all of our attention towards other things.

We should be putting all of our energy into growing at pre-recession levels.  The private sector is making steady improvements, but the government needs to help.  Something needs to be done to improve our country’s infrastructure.  We have thousands of bridges that are structurally deficient.  So we have people out of work and bridges that need work done.   Why can’t we pass a bill to repair our country’s bridges and roads?  It would put people back to work and fix our bridges.  There is some bi-partisan agreement that we need to repair roads and bridges, but both parties are having trouble on agreeing with how it should get done.  During the Great Depression we put people to work by building things.  Even if some of the work is temporary, it is vital because it gives people employment until the private sector can fully recover.  I’m not suggesting that government do everything, but it should definitely play a role in recovering our economy.  I supported the stimulus, but I don’t think it went far enough to have the effect it was suppose to make.  While I don’t think these cuts will be the end of the world, I don’t think they are a good idea during a recovery.

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