News and Tribune


March 4, 2013

BEAM: Cutbacks and Chianti: The secret lives of the sequestered


Yeah, any cuts will have a consequence, as we have seen. Yet America still must do something about its spending problem. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think leaving this nation trillions upon trillions dollars in debt is exactly the best gift to give to the next generation, even if they do call themselves the uninventive name of Generation Y. 

So how do we fix this problem? If I thought this sequestration was the answer, our family would take our medicine and move on. But, guess what. It’s not. Many economists say that this reduction in spending will barely touch our budget crisis because it fails to address the government’s mandatory financial obligations. 

Yep. It’s the big three. Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Government spending on these programs constituted more than 60 percent of our 2012 federal budget.

Until we find a way to deal with the skyrocketing cost of these programs, all the other hack-job cuts will remain useless. 

Now, to my mother and Aunt Lucille in particular, I’m not advocating any changes to your monthly Social Security benefits. You can call the lawyer and put me back in the will. What I am saying is that Congress needs to take a hard look at how to bring entitlement-program spending under control. It’s just not fiscally feasible to continue down this green brick road paved with someone else’s dollars. 

Change will be hard. People will be affected adversely. But a good member of Congress will know that, in order to survive, they must make the right decisions, not shift the authority to an automatic mechanism when they fail to agree. 

Do these servants of the people still exist? Our elected officials, it seems, find it difficult to vote for legislation that will make some of their constituents less than happy. They like their jobs in D.C., and know an unhappy voter is a surefire way to the unemployment line. 

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