Legislators who hold public office as a profession, as opposed to doing a stint in public service, are not in a position to make tough decisions because they want to keep their jobs, so they vote the way they think the people who put them there want them to or they vote the way the lobbyists tell them to, thinking of campaign donations and the propaganda power of the lobbyists and future job prospects as lobbyists themselves.
So it should be no surprise that the Democrats and Republicans on the congressional Super Committee could not come up with a compromise for a federal debt reduction package. So that means automatic spending cuts will be phased in over time that neither Republicans nor Democrats will like, altogether anyway.
But really, so what?
Nothing is set in concrete. If things get too bad and the public is outraged enough, congress can pass new laws countermanding the automatic cuts.
In a previous post I asked, and never got the answer: why does the government borrow money, except in emergencies, such as war brought on by an attack on the United States?
But whatever the answer, the government lives on borrowed money and keeps raising its debt as it borrows money to pay back borrowed money.
(I’m not that great on finances, but I’ve learned a lot about personal finance after all these years, like don’t spend more than you take in and avoid interest payments like the plague, that is unless it is interest payments coming back to you, such as from an interest-bearing account.)
But I have another question:
Is it really necessary for our federal government to pay off its debt? Or how much does it really need to pay down the debt to be fiscally sound?
Back to the way congress votes on all this:
I live in conservative country (I personally identify myself as a moderate). My local congressman is a conservative Republican. I’m sure he does not vote thinking exactly how things will affect the average person or family in his district, but rather how it will please the block of solid conservative voters, along with others who have voted for him. A large percentage of qualified voters do not vote, either out of apathy or ignorance (and I would just as soon the ignorant not vote anyway — but it might be better if they would wise up). He also votes the way the agribusiness and timber lobbies wish him to. Pretty much they do not want to be taxed. So how in the heck could he vote for higher taxes, even if they might help pay off the deficit?
I think that even though politics is what is causing the present stalemate, politics in the end will resolve it.
If the consequences of the automatic cuts are too dire, the electorate will rise up with a clear voice and demand compromise, thus giving even conservative Republican congressmen the cover to raise some taxes.
Now I am not necessarily gung-ho for raising taxes, but it seems that if the nation is deep into debt it has to somehow increase its revenue to pay off the interest.
Increased economic activity, of course, is what is really needed. But it is going to be hard to increase economic activity if the government cannot provide the services and the infrastructure upon which commerce depends upon.
A simpler tax code devoid of loopholes would go a long way towards raising revenue and would not require tax rates to go up as much. And it is imperative that the tax burden be shared among the economic classes of our citizens.
And as I have said in this blog space before, we need legislators who do not serve as an occupation, ones who are motivated by serving the public rather than how much will accrue to them personally through their actions.