.
February 3rd, 2010
05:00 PM ET

How can U.S. reduce deficit when lawmakers won’t support budget cuts in their own backyards?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out some lawmakers are all about fiscal restraint - as long as the cuts don't affect their constituents. Not in my backyard, right?

Pres. Obama speaks on the 2011 budget in the White House Grand Foyer. The budget includes billions of dollars for job programs and mandates deficit cutting.
Pres. Obama speaks on the 2011 budget in the White House Grand Foyer. The budget includes billions of dollars for job programs and mandates deficit cutting.

Politico reports about fiscal hawks who are now balking at Pres. Obama's proposed budget cuts. For example:

  • Republican Sen. George LeMieux of Florida: He called the president's proposed freeze on some federal spending too little-too late. But now he says the president's proposed $3.5 billion cut in the NASA budget makes no sense. LeMieux says there should be "cost-cutting everywhere;" but apparently that doesn't include NASA.
  • Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu - often against big government - is criticizing the proposal to end tax breaks for oil and gas companies in her home state of Louisiana.
  • Republican Sen. Jim DeMint - one of the most fiscally conservative of the bunch - says raising taxes on corporations as a way to trim the deficit is the quote "coward's way out."

And on it goes... Missouri's senators - one Democrat and one Republican - are against the president's plans to cut out spending on the C-17 aircraft... the manufacturing represents lots of jobs in St. Louis. And coal-state lawmakers are unhappy with the president's call to eliminate tax breaks for that industry

With midterm elections sneaking up around the corner - once again, politics will trump all. To hell with the nation's skyrocketing deficits. These lawmakers talk a good game about cutting spending, but at the end of the day, that's all it is: Talk.

Here’s my question to you: How can the U.S. reduce deficits when most lawmakers won’t support budget cuts in their own backyards?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Greg from Minneapolis writes:
Jack, The first order of business in reducing the deficit comes with the next election. Voters nationwide should vote AGAINST any incumbent, with the message that it is time to clean out Congress and replace them with people who are fiscally responsible. And in 2012, do the same for those incumbents who remain, along with the current occupant of the White House, who has the gall to complain about what he "inherited" and then proceeds to bust the budget with even MORE deficit spending!

Michael writes:
Flat Tax, Flat Tax, Flat Tax, Jack.

Angie writes:
If conservatives of both parties were serious about cutting spending in Washington, then they would support the budget cuts in their own backyards.

Mike from Oklahoma City writes:
Good luck getting the gerbils in Washington to do anything for the good of the country. Republican or Democrat, it doesn't matter. They are concerned with staying in their cushy job first and foremost. And, as long as they can keep that as a possible lifetime gig, they will continue raping the country to pay for garbage we don't need.

Sue from Idaho writes:
Why not contact your backyard congressman and tell him/her how the cow eats cabbage? You can only wring your hands for so long. If they don't listen, don't put a check by their name in the next election.

John from Vermont writes:
Jack, In a word they can't. There are no rewards for a congressman who doesn't bring home the pork.

Jimmy from Greenville, North Carolina writes:
We cannot reduce deficits until the administration takes a stand. And the only stand they take now is spending. When you talk out of both sides of your mouth, you get gravy on your tie.


Filed under: Deficit • Government • Senate and Congress
soundoff (179 Responses)
  1. Richard Texas

    If lawmakers refuse to reduce the deficit and they are hell bent on wasting tax money we do not have then it is time to vote them out of office. As it is right now a politician can do just about anything he or she wants to do and it is next to impossible to get them thrown out of office because those that decide their fate are probably doing the same things wrong themselves. An Ethics Committee in Washington has become an oxymoron.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  2. Paul Round Rock, Texas

    Jack they all need to tighten their belts and take the cuts. So do we all if we really want cuts.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  3. Chaney. Louisiana

    Yes Jack ...... the ole ...... "one mans bacon is another mans heart attack" scenario......we the people are going to have to walk the walk and insist on it even when it affects our back yard......not just the neighbors......... all of us bear some responsibility for this mess.When possible vote them out......

    February 3, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  4. Chris

    Pelosi should be the first one removed from office. The politician's in this country need to fully understand what is happening, aka "feel the pain". There are numerous blogs going around about voting out of office any incumbent just to make the point. I am beginning to strongly agree with this........ but of course it will never happen.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  5. Lou from North Carolina

    It is time for all pork to go by the wayside and just fund what has to be funded in order to live. They say their pork gives jobs. Well, maybe so but i doubt it is worth it. We also need to set up a ledger for Medicaid itself and it not be a part of Medicare. No one pays into it so set it aside from the program where people pay into it and you will see that Social Security will NOT go broke. My stepfather was a part of the team that wrote Social Security and when Johnson put Medicaid into Medicare/Social Security, he said the whole pot would go out the window by mid 2011. Separate those two budgets and you will see that it makes sense to make people work who can work. We have developed and energized people to be sorry and get money for breathing. It is time to wake up.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  6. George Rapson

    If they had a reasonable wage, health care just like we the people have to put up with, belonged to social security like the rest of us and couldn't just decide to take these jaunts, whenever they felt like it ,whether it's necessary or not, the Gov't. could save a lot of money that they are now wasting like the treasury is thier personal piggy bank!!!

    February 3, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  7. DW Gard

    They can't. It is just more of the OK for you but not me politics.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  8. Bud Rupert, Reston, VA

    The so-called bi partisan commision should consist of half republicans and half democrats. They should make the hard choices and agree which programs should be cut or illiminated altogether. Then, they may have a faily good chance of getting it passed.

    But if they even hint that it's not a 50/50 process "gridlock" will continue.

    Beats the hell out of me Jack but how in the world has this country survived as long as it has? You don't have to answer if you don't want

    February 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  9. Darren

    "Pay As You Go" not requiring Congressional Approval but an executive order making it manditory.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  10. Donna Wisconsin

    We, the voters, need to pay attention. Voters, too, talk out of both sides of their mouths. They forget which party got us into this mess, they want it cleaned up NOW, but they don't want their Congressman cutting something from their state to balance the budget and help lower the deficit. I'm sure I'm missing something her.....?

    February 3, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  11. Clare, NY

    I think it is high time Congress and the Senate realize that if they do not support cuts they will lose their jobs. For far too long politians have turned what used to be an honor to serve, into a business. Their jobs are not businesses. They are there to serve a public service period. It offends me to watch the reactions of the GOP on deficits. They should have a slogan called "It is not the right time" attached to them albeit there is never a right time. Which is why NOTHING seems to ever get accomplished and or solved. Just do your jobs as you were hired to do! Stop the stupid game playing, we are not your pawns to play with! Stop procrastinating and come to logical agreements and get things DONE!

    February 3, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  12. Jimmy in Greenville, NC

    We cannot reduce deficits until the administration takes a stand. And the only stand they take now is spending. When you talk out of both sides of your mouth you get gravy on your tie.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  13. Ed Woodbridge,Va.

    Jack,

    A lot of politicians have something in common with prison inmates, there both crooks, and the only difference between the two of them is one of them wears expensive tailor made suits, and it is not hard to figure out which is which! Case closed!

    Ed Woodbridge,Va.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  14. Simonsays-Orlando

    The only way to reduce deficits is to vote out the entire current congress and administration and start over with some people who actually care about this country.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  15. Kevin Wilber

    Jack, We will never balance the budget. This porkbelly logic that our congressman go by to stay in office will not allow that. Maybe, if they would work together and do things that are going to help the American people, they wouldb't have to worry about being re-elected.

    Bail out the Ameircan people !!. Find a solution to health care costs!!
    Work together has a team and we will find a way thru the mess that we are in.. Otherwise, when it is your time to run for office again, You may find yourself on the outside looking back in..

    February 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  16. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    This is called the best example of a Catch 22 ever. We're damned if we do and we're damned if we don't. Yes, these people only want to change when the change suits them but the reality of change is very painful and difficult and we are not ready to change YET.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  17. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Ture change requires a commitment to do something different when we don't want too for the good of the entire country. Washington is not broken, the United States of America is not united, we're Divided. We will not be united again until we admit complete defeat and hit a bottom which will be a bankrupt country.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  18. Michael G Tampa, FL

    Jack,
    Career politicians don't have the moral and ethical judgment to do the right thing.
    Congress just voted to raise the National Debt Ceiling (what a joke that ceiling is).
    Every member of Congress continues to insert self-interest earmarks in every bill.
    There must be cuts in every part of the National Budget. There can't be any exceptions, even the military must be cut.
    I'm Libertarian Jack, simply because the Democrats and Republicans keep taking turns placing blame and adding to budget deficits.
    We need to vote out every single incumbent in office Jack.
    That's the only solution.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  19. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    What a mute question that is. Reducing the deficit is dead in the water. If our Congressmen could get their hands out of their own pockets for a change and think of their constituents and what is best for them they could find a way to do just that. I'm not holding my breath waiting for the impossible.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  20. OBDAG in Appleton, WI

    Clearly lawmakers that don't go along with the proposed budget cuts deserve not to get reelected. and In this case it doesn't matter which political party the lawmaker is from either. Helping the peoples representatives is find unemployment is the most important thing that voters can do when in the election booth. This type of trash has gone on far to long. Everyone needs to contribute to helping reduce the defecit. Sure it steps on some toes, but it is necessary to reenvigerate the economy and get the US back to leading the world on several fronts. Personally, I will even support tax increases as long as I can see where I'm getting the bang for my buck.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  21. Dennis North Carolina

    this is why we need a line by line veto for the president.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  22. Judy, Exeter, Ca

    Here here Jack, I wonder what these guys would say to a paycut.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  23. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Do as I say, not as I do is the battlecry of all in Congress. They say they want to save, but don't take it out of my pocket. This mentality is how during the Bush regime was able to more than doubt the debt that had taken 224 years to accumulate. There are many delusional people who mistakenly believe the United States will prosper by following this path. Someone has to pay our bills, it's just not us according to Congress.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  24. Michael Alexandria, VA

    Discretionary spending should be regionalized (including spending on military projects) and should be paid for by regional value added taxes – both of which to be set by regional caucuses and administered by regional vice presidents and regionalized agencies. If tax collection is closer to home, there will be much less demand for local spending – especially if the tax is in our face everytime you buy something.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  25. Rob in NC

    They can't and they won't. Politicians today are not interested in "fixing" an of our problems, they spend all of their time and money working from one election to the next. There is no job in government other than getting re-elected. Rob in NC

    February 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  26. Layne Alleman

    Jack, Simple, WE can't, and THEY won't. It's grid-lock with a game of "chicken" thrown in. Congress is so "high" on itself that it is absolutely blind to what's happening to this country(or they simply don't care anymore). They figure that if they can keep polarizing the masses with non-issues, terror threats, and continued threats of ramped unemployment, who'll have the time to see what they're really doing? And guess what?, it seems to be working for our only two political parties just fine. FACE-IT WE'RE SCREWED!!!!! Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  27. linduh3

    Another fine example of America first. Until their loyalty to their country becomes more important than themselves, none of our problems will be solved till we vote all the bums out, insitute term limits and cease the lifetime salary pension.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  28. chris

    lawbreakers yes there are law breaker not lawmakers they need to cut pork govt waste and cut the size of govt stop buying cars for govt emploees cut their benefits and we go from there i know the truth is there is billions we can cut without hurting us the taxpayers every year i don't buy that crap that there is nowhere to cut

    February 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  29. Stan in Boston

    Cutting spending is not the way to reduce the deficits. In fact it could make the deficits worse if the cuts lead to the loss of even more jobs. Rather, we need to increase revenue. Revenue can be increased by raising tax rates or creating new taxes. But those choices will also lead to the loss of even more jobs. The better way to increase revenue would be by growing the economy. More people employed means more people paying taxes. Some spending will help grow the enconomy or lead to savings in the future. That kind of spending is more accurately characterized as investment. Some of these pet projects are investments that will create or maintain jobs, and in doing so will increase tax revenues and will make the real costs of these projects much less than it seems. Some of the spending is investment that will show a return. If you invest in weather proofing federal buildings, for example, we will save in fuel costs for years to come. Don't cut all spending. Instead, if you want to decrease the deficits you need to distinguish between spending and investment.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  30. Joe in VA

    We cannot and we will not because our political system penalizes having political guts. It's this lack of political will to do the right thing for the country that's sending us down the tube. We are doomed and you are right in what you said the other day to Wolf Blitzer, "we ARE broke." Term limits please.

    Chatham, VA

    February 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  31. Ryan

    Jack,

    Quick answer: we CAN'T unless the entitlement mentality in the US is subdued – on both sides. Period.

    Atlanta, GA

    February 3, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  32. S, Michigan

    These selfish politicians (most of them, very wealthy) are just going to raise taxes on us working people for reducing deficit- which probably won't happen either- that money will be "wasted" on something else as it always happens in Washington.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  33. David Sisters OR

    Well Jack the deificit wont go down until revenue goes up. For this to happen, production needs to increase, people need to work. On the local level, besides these two things, property values need to return to a realistic level so that cities, and counties will have the money to operate services at an efficient level. On the spending side, reform just wont happen as long as the politicians put what's good for their ideology ahead of what's good for the country. They have to make some hard decisions, does anyone think they can do this?

    February 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  34. Duane in Lock Haven PA

    How about something like the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. It seemed to have worked then and it passed, without any Republican votes. It helped the United States of America, not just a few states special interest.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  35. Ken from Maryland

    It can't.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  36. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    Real fiscal restraint has about as much chance as building new oil refineries or nuclear plants, or finding a permanent home for nuclear waste. It's going nowhere, because everyone wants it, just not close to home. Until we recognize that these guys primarily serve their donors rather than voters, they will be fighting for local bucks, while wringing their hands over total spending.

    Rick,

    Medina, OH

    February 3, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  37. Janne from NC

    This is why the deficit reduction commission is so badly needed. The commission makes the rules and individual lawmakers are off the hook. Their constituents can blame the commission not the elected official. Let’s face it; we all want to reduce the deficit as long as it does not affect us.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  38. vern-anaheim,ca

    yes there should be cost cutting everywhere including NASA,C-17 aircraft,&coal states.Nothing will be done about these and a other programs,lawmakers favor cutting other people's pet projects as long as it's not theirs

    February 3, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  39. Chris DeJong, Greenville, SC

    The problem is that the lawmakers' constituents generally want the favorable treatment they get for their district but don't want other districts to get favorable spending treatment. By the way, this is the opposite of "Not in my backyard" related to nuclear power plants, etc.

    Congress has to stand up as a group and abandon special riders to bills that have no relation to the bill itself. We need simpler legislation that can be read and understood by the average citizen. Everyone need to begin thinking as an American, not as a local citizen. Let the states and localities take care of their responsibilities.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  40. Jane (Minnesota)

    In the "What's in it for me" attitude in Washington, it won't happen – that's the sad reality of it.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  41. Ed from California

    It used to be the"Big Three" and it's suppliers were the nations largest employers. Now it's the Federal government. And so now, the beast who feeds the monster is running out of food. No food, no monster. (explanation; The working/unemployed middle class is the "beast". The "food" is our Federal income taxes, and the "monster" is our government employees). I think the only one that gets it, is Senator Specter from Pennsylvania.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  42. mario ca

    Ask the tea party

    February 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  43. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, of course not! The old idea of take the money from someone else besides my district/state will kill any real efforts to cut the budget. That is why the President must have the guts to just veto the funding bills if they don't make the cuts, and the cuts must be across the board so everyone takes the hit. Of course, this just ain't gonna happen in the present Congress, with the present administration! So, we spend more and more, and eventually we'll have to pay for it.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  44. B. Russ

    We can start by cutting their salary, health insurance, and the biggest of all...the legislators retirement pay! Let them live on the average wages and benefits; if they can't live they should retire.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  45. Lucy, Austin, Texas

    The U.S. can reduce deficits when each state voters starts looking at how their Congressmen vote and how much money they take from special interests, and who contributes to their campaigns.

    If your Congressman is taking a lot of money from the special iterests and your state employment rate is falling. your taxes are getting higher and his "friends" keep getting richer....then he really isn't working for you. It is time to take back America. If the your Congressman isn't making your economy better, then vote him out. Forget the slick campaign ads. Screw party lines. Your Congressman either makes 51% of the voting population a better economy or we fire him....that keeps reminding him whose best interests he is suppose to protect. Time to let their actions start speaking louder than their words. Americans worry about being unemployed everyday. Our Congressmen need to feel the pain too.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  46. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    Jack, we have let government create a political economy and as such each politician has the fiduciary obligation to assure that his constituents enjoy to the maximum the funds and aid that are or may become available. Besides that, their butt is on the line at election time.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  47. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    It will be dificult to break the cycle but it needs to be broken. These congress people are behaing this way because they need to have their constituents vote for them. It's like Pork Projects. They bring home the bacon and they are heros but if they don't-they're history. Some projects must be eliminated and there should be even cuts across the board for all of the rest. Let Congress show some backbone and do what is right for a change.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  48. mike ca

    Vote out incumbents.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  49. Peter

    These "lawmakers" will never be able to reduce the deficit because they don't have a clue about how to budget. Budgeting their way means making a spending list then going to taxpayers for whatever the spending totals. None of these elitists have ever had to live on 30-40 thousand a year and have to pay a mortgage and raise 2-3-4 kids. Until REAL people get elected, the deficit and debt will remain

    February 3, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  50. Alex in Gig Harbor

    It is pork when it is money for another district so the only way to reduce the deficit is to raise taxes. Everybody wants their share of services but nobody wants to pay for them. And my how folks scream when you try to cut their favorite cash cow. But even taxing the rich won't get us out of the hole created in the last decade. It was such a fun ride back when we thought Communist China would always support our fiscal stupidity.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  51. joseph

    All American politicians ahve an incurable disease called spend-a-holicness. No matter how fast the presses print hundred dollar bills, the politicians will always clammer for more to spend.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  52. Steve Canada

    The only answer to this is an across the board cut..Freeze EVERYTHING. Then impose a 2% annual cut, every year until it balances...Let the partisans figure out an attack for that..

    February 3, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  53. Nelson

    By taxing the filthy rich who are getting much more than they are worth.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  54. Clare, NY

    I also suspect the Senators against ending tax cuts also have investments in some or all the companies that benefit tax breaks!

    February 3, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  55. JIM,Roanoke,Va

    Until President Obama gets serious abot cutting the deficit there is no chance Congress will do anything. It's called leadership and Obama has very little of that.,although he does talk a great game. He makes people happy by giving money in return for their support,but if you don't play his game you don't get part of his piggy bank-easy as that !!

    February 3, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  56. Ron

    The President should take a lot of these Congressmen and Senators to the woodshed and whip their behinds.Their acting like a bunch of prima donna's. Ron Phila. Pa

    February 3, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  57. Dan, Chantilly VA

    Vote on the budget cuts line by line. That way when the 2 senators from Missouri vote no on cuts to the C-17 program, they'll be overruled by the other 98 senators. Rinse, repeat with each issue. It's a win-win situation. Every congressman gets to tell their constituents they were working for them by voting no to budget cuts for their state and claim to be fiscally conservative by voting yes for everything else.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  58. Doug - Dallas, TX

    It can't Jack, it's that simple. Our Congress is great at spending and creating but not at cutting programs. After all, they have to pay off the people who got them elected. When our kids reach our age, they'll be having the same conversations we're having now; reining in heath care costs, cutting the budget, bringing the troops home from whatever war they're fighting and the other various areas we waste money on because we do not have the courage to do what is right for this country. Our politicians have lost their backbone to make the best decisions for the country instead of the "politically correct" decisions for themselves.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  59. katiec Pekin, IL

    The idea that everyone, except those in my backyard, should tighten their belts has to stop. Of course, every politician supposedly puts the welfare of their state or theirselves first, but, in a time when we need to cut spending, everyone needs to be willing to sacrifice.
    Politicians scream about the deficit, yet, support any and all spending for their districts. The same applies to earmarks.
    Until we get politicians that are sincere in working for the survival
    of our country, we will have no survival.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  60. Gail, Plano,Texas

    That's simple, Jack. We can't! Nope, no how, no way. As usual, it's me first. U, perhaps never. As long as I take care of my people, the rest of the country can go to he'll. Great example was the health care debacle. Me first should be our motto, not country first that old man McCain tried to sell us.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  61. Greg - Minneapolis, MN

    Jack, the first order of business in reducing the deficit comes with the next election. Voters nationwide should vote AGAINST any incumbent, with the message that it is time to clean out Congress and replace them with people who are fiscally responsible. And in 2012, do the same for those incumbents who remain, along with the current occupant of the White House who has the gall to complain about what he "inherited", and then proceeds to bust the budget with even MORE deficit spending! Only when government officials realize that we are "mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore" will there be a chance to rein in the out of control spending. Because left to their own devices, Congress and the President will SPEND, SPEND, SPEND!!!

    February 3, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  62. honestjohn in Vermont

    Jack, in a word they can't. There are no rewards for a congressman who doesn't bring home the pork.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  63. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Until such time as Congressmen & Senators are limited to one term, corruption will be king. My pork will always be more important than your pork.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  64. K

    Throw these bums out! I am sick and tired of our elected nonrepresentatives being more concerned with their own self interests and lobbyists pouring money into their pockets.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  65. Arlene, Illinois

    These 100 people in the Senate remind me of a bunch
    of pigs who enjoy wallowing in the mud and the dirtier they get
    the more they enjoy it. The people who wrote the Constitution
    sure didn't envision the way people act today.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  66. Bernie Bacosa

    President Obama campaigned and was elected by the majority of American voters largely through utilizing the new media of the internet. Now that his presidency is being buffeted by opponents of his agenda through their unfettered use of vested interest and traditional media (such as political rallies, radio and TV ), Americans who voted for him as well as his own staff should mobilize and express the real voice of the majority by persistently inundating the email inboxes and websites of elected officials with the American majority’s true choices and views.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  67. M & M

    These senators and congressmen are in tight spots. If they say "yes, now is the time to cut funding" to these projects in their states, they will never be reelected. On the other hand, serious cutbacks do need to be made - there just needs to be a rhyme and reason to the cuts.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  68. Johnny Chagdes (Los Angeles)

    Hi Jack –

    Well, well, well ... like we all knew this would be the outcome.

    The Answer is simple ... Mr. Obama needs to L-I-V-E with the problem.

    Line
    Item
    Veto
    Everything

    Since he is lambasting everything that moves besides himself, let's add this responsibility to his plate. I do not think he can upset the Congress anymore than he already has.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  69. Ryan

    Its called a balanced budget amendment Jack. Right now Congress treats the Federal purse as their means for buying reelection votes for as long as they can squeeze a paycheck out of the American people. A balanced budget amendment would force congress to make hard choices and run this country like any business or household has to run... balancing their budget. Sure, there would be hard choices, and we would need some sort of contingency for times of real emergency, but by allowing congress to rack up debts today that will have to paid for by people not yet born or old enough to vote is immoral.

    My grandfather can't pass his personal debts on to me, but his government can pass on debts to my government, and my sons government, and his sons government...

    Ryan
    Manassas, Virginia

    February 3, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  70. david doherty

    Why is it never mentioned the amount of taxes we lose because of all the imported products? When you have an employee working in the US, his labor is taxed, it's called federal and state income tax, which goes into our coffer's, you know for a rainy day. Well brother it's pouring out there, and nobody mentions the 800lb gorilla in the room. We're letting congress & industry turn this country into a 3rd world country. When you cut spending on things like NASA, then you're depriving our future Americans the knowledge that could be learned from space travel. It's hard to put a price on what could have been.

    Dave from Peterborough, NH.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  71. Linda in Charleston, SC

    Allow all these bimbo's to seek private funding for their pet projects. Make them work for a change.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  72. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    They could try to borrow from the banks and see if they have any better luck than us. Or they could not only mow their backyards but scorch them. It's the only way.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  73. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    They could get support from other governments.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  74. Joe Diomede

    Heres a quote from our President....
    "When times are tough, you tighten your belts," Obama said, according to a White House transcript of his appearance Tuesday at a high school in Nashua, N.H.

    "You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage," Obama said. "You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices."
    Maybe he should copy Nancy Palosi in on this one

    February 3, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  75. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, NY

    Jack,

    I wouldn't mind the CYA carping about lawmakers'pet projects, if they first showed restraint on their own perks.
    What about voting themselves a 5% raise this year, the stipends for being on committees that accomplish little, and the clothing, meal, and office subsidies enjoyed while their constituents are out of work ?
    What about Speaker Pelosi racking more frequent flier miles than the George Clooney character in Up in the Air ?.
    Do us all a favor and vote on term limits – that would be Congress's most productive legislation

    February 3, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  76. Conor in Chicago

    This reminds me of my favorite quote from the last election:

    "We were meant to be a Republic, not an Empire"
    Ron Paul

    I didn't fully support him but he's right. If we didn't have to worry about a global empire dominated by mult-nationals then our system of Democracy would work. As it stands now it doesn't.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  77. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Vote the jerks out of office, some have been there so long they think they own the office. Vote someone in office that does what the people want for a change rather than big business.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  78. Paul Gustafson from Michigan

    I've got a great idea – why don't we pay politicians big bonuses for slashing costs and jobs like corporations do? I bet it would catch on!

    February 3, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  79. Michael & Diane M Phoenix AZ

    McCain and Kyl have not spoken up on they plan to help.....Phoenix JUST announced that the city will cut 350 police and firemen.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  80. Tina Tx

    How many times do I have to remind you that we the American people must come together and vote anyone who has been in past two term OUT. If we do not them we will continue to be run over with Washington's steam roller. You all want true change?? Vote them out, please.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  81. Linda in Arizona

    It all depends on whose ox is being gored, doesn't it? But don't worry, Obama's "freeze" on spending was nothing but a sham anyway. Budget cuts? Why not start by ending the illegal wars we're involved in? Oh, that's right. The MIC would be VERY upset about that. Our government is broken. We are heading for bankruptcy and third world status. It's inevitable. Don't squirm and struggle. Resistance is futile.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  82. Don from Belleville, Canada

    Obviously they can't. Each federal politician is trapped in a severe conflict of interest between what is good for America versus what is good for the home riding. The thirst for re-election almost always tilts the scales greatly in favor of the home district, because that is where the votes are. Just another reason why budget cuts never seem to pan out.
    America needs either a quick economic recovery or it needs to raise taxes immediately and big time. Forget about relying on spending cuts.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  83. James Allen

    The emphasis on reducing the deficit at this time reflects economic ignorance. The economic crisis is one of demand (consumer spending) and not supply (tax cuts). Specific projects whose long term merits are questionable can be cut but deficit spending per se is necessaqry given the current economic crisis. However, those not wanting to cut their pet projects do so for personal reasons not within the context of an overall economic program.

    James Allen
    Euless, TX

    February 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  84. Angie

    I guess all the Republican conservative blabber about Obama over spending is just Republican conservative blabber.

    If conservatives of both parties were serious about cutting spending in Washington, then they would support the budget cuts in their own backyards.

    But the truth is Republicans fight everything Obama tries to do, just because he is a Democratic President.

    No other reason why they do not support him on anything.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  85. Richard, Syracuse

    The solution is an across the board Cut. Each and every program would be given a target amount and they would need to cut to that target amount, at least.

    We would not be in such a mess if the Republicans had cut 10 cents from programs for every 10 cents they increased the budget. But when you do nothing but give Tax Breaks to a select few like the Wealthy and Oil Companies you are just shifting the burdon to the rest of the Tax Payers.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  86. Mike in Texas

    Jack one thing no one I have heard mention, is basic math. The money spent for jobs, jobs, jobs, will come back in taxes, taxes, taxes! More American's working means more income to the Federal coffers. Thus the deficit is reduced at a faster rate, unless of course pork and earmarks are given the green light. Also Federal jobs need to be evaluated, tighten the belt and show that Washington is on board.

    Also the tax incentive of $5,000. is great as long it is not applied until after one year of employment, without that stop gap there will be a revolving door loop hole for all businesses. Then why stop there? Offer more for jobs that are returned to the US from overseas!

    People should get off the President's back and jump on Congress for their immature behavior that is finally becoming more visible to the American public!

    February 3, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  87. Will from San Jose, CA

    Even though it doesn't make the most fiscal sense, the only option is an across the board cut on all discretionary in spending. If absolutely everything was being cut no one could complain about special treatment. That will never happen, so instead they'll pick and choose tiny programs in the districts of junior Congressional members and a few sacrificial lambs where each party knows they have such a majority they'll win re-election regardless.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  88. Duane in Lock Haven PA

    How about something like the Deficit Reduction Act of 1993. It seemed to have worked then and it passed with a tie breaking vote from Al Gore, without any Republican votes. It helped America, not just a few states special interest. Our politicians should care more about our country and less about getting elected,

    February 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  89. Ed Hansen, Atlanta GA

    I believe "no cuts in my district" is why Pres. Obama started with budget freezes on pork.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  90. Gary Lee

    This is the same old story. Polititions first concern is keeping their jobs. They want change , until it might have an adverse reaction from their supporters. They are no different than the rest of us, they want money, and they want success.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  91. EugeneWiese

    the deficit was too high when President Obama took office due to:two wars;bush tax cuts;bush prescription drug program,with none of them paid for,and the financial crisisdue largely to deregulation with no oversite. President Obama admit that it will take a long time to reduce this deficit;however ,he will pay for any deficit created on his watch.Now who gives a damn abouut deficits when they don't have a job. We need to rebuild our manufacturing base and start making things to sell here there and everywhere. Gene

    February 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  92. ken from connecticut

    If this country balanced its budget, there would be a collapse. Taxes on everything would go sky high. States would receive nothing from the federal gov't and they would have to raise taxes. States couldn't give anything to the towns and they would have to raise taxes, of which most of us can't afford. There would be cuts in everything and the standard of living would sink to new levels. There would be a Great depression. The banks know that and so does the gov't. So reducing the deficits is so ridiculous that its funny. Give Nasa their money! Give the states what they need. It's all leading to a place no one wants to go. Get ready-because, here we gooooo!

    February 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  93. Curtis in Kansas

    Politicians by and large are lazy. Sure, they have a responsibility to look out for their constituents, but they lack vision and the will to communicate the bigger picture to those they serve. Americans will sacrifice when they believe that they are not the only ones tightening their belt. The Ben Nelsons and Mary Landrieus of the political world are a cancer in Washington.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  94. Tom in Iowa

    Nothing ever changes in Washington DC. Everyone screams about Government spending as long as it does not affect their pet projects. Toss the bums out and lets try it all over again until we get it right.

    Tom in Iowa

    February 3, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  95. Overby from Melbourne

    Prez Obama's been all over the tube the past few days bragging about getting paid back $30Billion of our money that was paid out on the TARP deal...and instead of putting it back in the federal account and applying it toward the deficit, all he can talk about is how to spend it....talk about BS nonsense, no wonder the rest of the politicians don't know anything but spend, spend, and spend. Complete fiscal irresponsibility from the top down.....

    February 3, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  96. Homeless D in Atlanta

    It is a simple thing to do.

    There is ONLY ONE WAY to decrease the budget deficit.

    TAKE IN MORE MONEY THAN YOU SPEND!

    In order to do so, there are two options. Raise taxes so we take in more money, OR spend less so the money we do take in can start paying down our debt.

    Now, none of these options is very likely to happen. Congress, and by that I certainly mean BOTH PARTIES, is on a spending spree. One thing we could do would be to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Those wars are putting us further and further in the hole EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    Then, congress needs to understand that although they are elected to represent their constituents, thei JOB is to run the entire country. They need to STOP padding their own nest and start listening to all the people, not just their local good old boys!

    IMHO, we might well be at a point where we cannot recover. Already, judging from what was reported yesterday, China is exerting pressure to force us to do some particular things. and since they basically own us I am very much afraid that they will prevail in the long run.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  97. Kevin - Veteran in Illinois

    Jack

    It's about time that Americans wake up realize that it's both Houses of Congress that ran up this defict! There are 535 people on the Hill that blame everything on a President that has been in Office for 1 year. Obama is making the tough choices to better America's future; it's about time Congress does as well!

    February 3, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  98. Alan - Charlotte, NC

    It's time to get rid of some lawmakers. The status quo just won't work anymore and those who will not make the necessary changes need to leave town or be escorted out.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  99. Steve, Clifton, VA

    Development and implementation oof robust "Term Limits"!!

    February 3, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  100. Karl from SF, CA

    How about line item vetoes? Unless it’s for real national security, creating jobs or keeping people working and in their homes, it can be put on hold until next year and then reviewed again. Congress got us in this mess. Let’s not trust them to see the way out.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  101. Dave in Crystal Lake

    Should we be surprised that politicians want budget cuts everywhere in in their own backyards? Thats what we elect them to do. We want ours and the hell with everyone else. Politics is a selfish game.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  102. Pete - Augusta Ga

    Jack –

    The answer is the same as with so many of your questions – vote against every Congressional incumbent (House & Senate). Until we flush these career 'public servants' we will get more of the same – spending themselves back into office every 2 or 6 years.

    If we fail to break this chain we have no one to blame but ourselves – voters are the enablers by continuing to reward their wreckless spending habits. Perhaps if Congress begins to fear the voters instead of displaying contempt for us, we might begin to dig out of the mountain of debt.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  103. Tony Scott

    Jack,

    The solution could actually be simple:if no Congressman or Senator were allowed to vote on those parts of a bill, or add earmarks to it, that were related to expenditure in their own constituencies.

    But I suppose they would just bribe each other.

    I guess what we really need is one-term Presidents with real line-item veto power. I bet no Congressman supports that idea...

    February 3, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  104. Nathan Smith

    It's simple Jack; You Can't.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  105. Michael

    Flat Tax, Flat Tax, Flat Tax Jack....

    February 3, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  106. Jeff in Cleveland

    Jack:

    We need to remind our representatives and senators that they are sent to Washington to make decisions in the best interests of our country: they should not act like salesmen for our states or cities, putting our local needs above the national good. We'll never solve the problem if all they think about is the short-term, local benefit. If the federal government goes officially bankrupt, that will have a lot worse effect on our states!

    February 3, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  107. Terry C. in Illinois

    America can not reduce their spending, how do you think we got into this mess... Lobbyists
    America is now in 2 wars, pork projects like the famous Alaskan
    " bridge to nowhere", etc...
    Corporate taxes is one of the issues that caused a lot of our deficit, Bush and the GOP cuts taxes for companies who "outsourced" jobs out of America which should have never been passed, and now those same companies don't want to pay enough taxes to help reduce America's deficit...yet they just keep using off-shore tax-havens so not to pay taxes at all in some cases...
    Lobbyists in Washington are allowed to lobby congress and donate to campaigns. Now congress has become so corrupt, it will never be changed...

    February 3, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  108. Sandra Mitchell

    Fire and impeach everyone that is currently working in, for or around government and start all over again. New blood never hurt anything. Remember, "if it ain't broke don't fix it?" Well guess what folks, it's broke, so let's fix it.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  109. Mike B.

    Its time to impose term limits on the Congress. It seems that the only way to keep the politicians honest and make sure that the good of the people of this country as a whole is their first priority and not a re-election campaign in their own backyards is to limit the amount of times they can be re-elected.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  110. john j. grimes Watertown, Ma.

    Come on Jack, you already know the answer. Politicians say one thing in Washington & when they are running for re-election and do the opposite when they can "bring home the bacon". This is proof as to why politicians & babies have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  111. Bob

    I would: 1. Make e-verify manatory, hugh fines/jail for violators. 20 million here illegally if only 5 million are working and leave because they can't take our jobs that is 5 million jobs for Americans and all that money then goes into the economy. 2. Stop outsourcing and tax companies that do thus bringing our jobs back and then that money goes into our economy. 3. Bring our jobs back from China and that goes into the economy. In short the more unemplyed in America means a lot less going from our workers into our economy and the more we spend here the more goes into the Federal budget. Ending wars would lead to a hugh saving also. Lastly give the President line item veto so he can stop our crooked politicans from getting their pet projects. Good luck

    February 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  112. Sue From Idaho

    why not contact your backyard congressman and tell him/her how the cow eats cabbage. You can only wring your hands for so long, if they don't listen don't put a check by their name in the next election.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  113. Dicky Neely

    Hi Jack,
    Just as Senators and Congressmen will not vote to close an uneeded military base in their own state or district they will not vote to cut any federal programs in their own backyards.
    To counter the military base closing problem the BRAC was formed to take it out of their hands and give them cover.
    Now we need a new comission, perhaps the PBSC, the Pork Barrel Spending Commision, to once again take it out of their hands.
    Dicky Neely
    Corpus Christi, Tx.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  114. Mark Conklin

    Hey,

    Let's cut the budget to Congress. If they don't have money to meet, they can't spend. Keep the bumbs home!

    Mark
    Savage, Maryland

    February 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  115. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    And there in lies the paradox.

    It isn't just the lawmakers, do we really think most people in those backyards would support budget cuts that affect them, to sacrifice at the expense of decades of poor government?

    Scores of years with unbridled spending has made us spoiled. It is no time to worry who is to blame, we've been doing that, it is time we all suck it up and get this done.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  116. Rich Gordon

    The President is correct when he pushes for both parties to reach a consensus, but the problem is he is not in control of his own party. If Obama cannot get the Dems on Capitol Hill to get on board with his agenda, nothing will be accomplished. If, however, they have the courage to lead by example in finding bipartisan solutions, I can assure it will resonate with voters.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  117. J.L from NJ

    Well, the budget freeze is a really neat way to not pay out the money for earmarks in the previous budgets. I hope the President uses his power of Executive Orders to do what he can. And finally, WE the people need to replace every person in the legislative branch who is not working for the common good of all Americans. The whiners and name-callers have to go !

    February 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  118. Greg, Ontario

    All Americans need to accept that the pig is dead and bringing home the pork isn't an issue worthy of thier vote anymore. The politician that sells that idea will win. People are not as stupid as politicians and the media think and they better start realizing it.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  119. DONL

    jack its the same emty talk by alot of emty suieted congress people there will never be any change. idont know what we can do. minot no. dak.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  120. Sandra - Illinois

    I am absolutely sick to death of the Republicans these days!. I have been mostly Republican all of my life, but these "fatcat" Republicans who are sitting there with insurance, jobs, and all sorts of perks act like small children who are always crying wolf. Just a point today, they didn't think the authorities were doing anything about the Christmas Day bomber. (We can't always publish everything we know.) Now when they give information that they gained, they yelled again. There is just no pleasing these politicians because they only want their own agendas. I happen to feel that our President is doing the best job possible given the total mess that was left by their "Precious" Republican party.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  121. tony miraglia

    The only way to fix this and many other problems facing our nation is term limits. Yes, one term and you are out. This would insure that our elected officials might spend time legislating and not running for re-election and being influenced by lobbyists. Perhaps then, and only then, they would do what is right for the country and not their own self interests.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  122. katiec Pekin, IL

    Politicians do not give the American people enough credit.
    We are intelligent to realize that there needs to be tightening of the belt in all aspects. Unfortunately, too many politicians worry more about their getting re-elected, personal gains than they do about
    the survival of our country.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  123. Mike Oklahoma City

    Good luck getting the Gerbils in Washington to do anything for the good of the country. Republican or Democrat it doesn't matter they are concerned with staying in their cushy job 1st and foremost and as long as they can keep that as a possible lifetime gig they will continue raping the country to pay for garbage we don't need.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  124. A. in DFW Texas

    Fire all the lawmakers at their next election, then create a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  125. Mike from Denver

    Simple, it is time to clean House, and Senate while we are at it. Let's face it, we need new blood in Congress, willing to make the tough decisions that will save this country.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  126. Kermit - South Dakota

    Term Limits.....all they care about is getting relected......No one is willing to stand up and try to balance a budget.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  127. Michael

    Jack,

    Two things: Vote out incumbents and install term limits. Senators and Representatives are sent to do what is good for the country, not necessarily what is good for them personally.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  128. Scott Stodden

    If the Republicans would quit playing games and saying no to every single piece of legislation Jack I promise and Im willing to bet my life on it that we could get a lot more done in this country. President Obama is a wise man and knows what he's doing so why can't Republicans stand by his side? The stimulus created or saved jobs and held this economy together, there were tax breaks and benefits that came out of this bill it was good legislation, we also need a health care system that works for everyone and what President Obama wants is the right thing, now we need a budget and this budget for 2011 has tax breaks and benefits everyone. Im proud of President Obama Jack for holding this country together when we were in a state of depression, the things he has done in one year is amazing and if Republicans can't stand with Democrats us Democrats have to fight harder.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    February 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  129. George Waterloo Canada

    Jack if you haven't figured it out yet here it is...

    You can NEVER reduce the deficits because your political system allows the opposition party to put the blocks to anything your ELECTED government wants to do. Your President got the majority of the popular vote the majority of the seats in the House of Reps, and the majority of the seats in the senate and yet....he CANNOT push any of his policies through unless the idiots in the opposition go along with it...Time for a Parliamentary system don't you think?

    February 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  130. Louanna Ritter

    Jack, when will we start demanding that our Congressmen stop raising their own salaries and pensions? Wouldn't that save a little bit? That's a non-partisan decision for them to make, but it will be a cold day in hell before they"ll do that!! They forget they are our employees, and it is obvious that we have no say in how much they can earn. On the other hand, they can tell corporations and banks how much they can pay in bonuses. There is something really bizarre here.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  131. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville, Texas

    Jack, if they want pork barrel then they can pay for it out their greedy slimey pockets. First let's cut their health care and let them flounder like the rest of us. Let's get Pelosi to pay for that Norway junket and show us what moral and fiscal responsability really is. Let's get them a nice excel spreadsheet that say's you have this much money, if you spend more, we'll sel your house to help pay for your political greed. Better yet, the more you over spend is a vote taken away from you in the next election. I'f you overspend by a trillion dollars, you loose a trillion votes. Tit for tat.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  132. Karl Weaver SLO, California

    The best chance to seriously cut a ballooning deficit is the idea proposed by Senators Judd and Conrad to create a bipartisan commission to recommend measures to balance the federal budget over a 10 year period-and when its recommendations are presented to Congress to have a yes/no vote on the proposals in their entirety with no amendments. It would still take a major act of courage, rarely seen now, by most members of Congress-but at least having a yes/no vote on bipartisan recommendations would give politicians "political cover" for not being able to fight to retain spending that benefits their own district. You mentioned "bringing home the bacon"–people seem to forget that the bacon politicians "bring home" to their districts comes out of the pockets of the voters, in the form of taxes, or deficits which threaten our long-term stability.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  133. Irene

    Cutting back always sounds good. But in reality, it takes money to make money. We need to invest in schools and roads and provide medical care for all citizens. These are investments in our nation, . . . our future. These are also investments that will put people to work, which will pay income taxes and other taxes that could possibly reduce the deficit (eventually). If we're all working, then the government should be able to afford to provide the basic necessities to all its citizens: education, medical care and a well paved nation in which we can reach a better future. Law makers should really try to see the big picture. We can't be a penny wise and a pound foolish. That is how other nations will leave us in the dust.

    Saludos,

    Irene (Burlingame, CA)

    February 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  134. Ross- Las Vegas

    Start bringing in economics professors to lecture congress.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  135. Nancy, Tennessee

    The older I get the more I learn just how politics really work. I'm disappointed beyond my age right now because I have heard so much since President Obama took office and because our country is in the worst economic state since I have been alive. The fighting amongst the Democrats and Republicans has gone over the top at a time when they should pull together. We're fighting wars of all kinds – economic, on terror, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan and these nuts we elected want to duke it out in the United States Congress. I hope somebody wins so we can get on with getting our country back on track. We need to cut spending no matter which of the 50 states wants preferential treatment.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  136. Tom, Lake Havasu City

    It's the usual hypocracy. Republicans just refuse to do anything that Obama proposes, just because he proposed it. They all talk about defecit reduction now, why didn't they talk about it when Bush was President for 8 years? Two wars, tax cuts, prescription drug program, none of which was paid for. All of the sudden we have a Democratic President, and now they say spending has to be cut, just not in their district! Everyone needs to help,not just us citizens!

    February 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  137. Curtis in Kansas

    How about a 5 year freeze on new government hiring? The US Government is bigger than it has ever been, surely we have enough people to last that long. Replace those that leave a position, but no new positions... how could that be bad?

    February 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  138. Phyllis

    This amounts to the same "special interests" and "ear marks" policies that these very same politicians claim they are against. They talk out of both sides of their mouths. I say, report on those that truly want spending cuts, even if it means tough choices for their constituents (we'll support and keep them because they really have the country's best interests at heart) and expose the ones that oppose cuts based on their personal interests, then fire them. Why not put the proposed budget with all the cuts to a special election vote by the people and eliminate the impotent middlemen in Washington.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  139. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – This is nothng new. The deficit exists because each Representative and Senator seeks to bring more Federal spending back to their constituency than is collected from that constituency in taxes. In other words, narrow local self interest trumps, and always has trumped, simple arithmetic. The fact is, the marginal tax curve climbs too slowly and taxes the high earners too little to balance even a sensible budget, much less the crazy crap we have now. At this point, debt service amounts to more than non-Defense discretionary spending. Every past democracy that failed did so for this same reason: government spending too high for the low taxes collected. It is up to the public to do the math, and to demand and make sacrifices to preserve the nation. Freedom is not free, it is not even cheap.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  140. Mel - Rancho Mirage, California

    Jack, they are not serious about budget cuts. They will say or do any thing to get elected. This is all our fault. We keep putting these jokers in office. Time to take them out. I mean take out all incumbents does not matter who they are. Then and only then, they will see that we mean business and suddenly all of them will turn honest. It is time to bring back the Honest Abes of this nation.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  141. JB Kansas

    I feel we should be looking at a 1 cent National Sales Tax... We have so many illegal immigrants that are in this country and they just keep coming over..... yet they don't pay taxes on anything... but our government keeps supporting them.... They do have to buy things such food... entertainment.... etc... Make them help pay this deficit down...

    February 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  142. Tom Cavellier

    Well I have 10 ways:

    1. Term Limits
    2. Term Limits
    3. Term Limits
    4. Term Limits
    5. Term Limits
    6. Term Limits
    7. Term Limits
    8. Term Limits
    9. Term Limits
    10. Term Limits

    February 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  143. Joe Cortez, San Francisco

    Fact is, Jack, our federal government has become as addicted to deficits just as much as I was addicted to a certain drug and, not ever having experienced health or legal problems in those days, its taken shear will power to finally decide "ENOUGH!" The federal deficits and mounting national debt will never be a thing of the past until the United States itself is a thing of the past. We've never seen a day of reckoning and so we don't believe it's possible. Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it will never happen. Before 9/11, the types of horror we saw on our shores was unthinkable. Then it happened. I hope I don't live long enough to see what we know is inevitable.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  144. frank in Valparaiso

    We need to raise taxes on the super rich. 50% on incomes over a million including stock options all the other bennies. 75% over ten million, 90% over 20 million. Period. No exceptions. That will not only reduce the deficit but it will stop all this stupid speculation and bubble creation that they seem to come up with as far as all their get rich quick schemes.

    And close the off shore tax loopholes. US corporation goes overseas, double its tax rates. No exceptions. And no government contracts for them. As far as government contracts, US materials and US builders. China does it. Why don't we?

    February 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  145. gary peterson

    Jack,
    the first thing that should be done to reduce deficits is to do what the private sector has had to do – eliminate government pensions. The private sector has to rely on building their own retirement plans, why shouldn't government workers – both federal and state. Why should my taxes pay for their pensions when their taxes don't provide one for me? Government employees now earn more than the private sector – why don't I hear any congressman suggesting saving money by eliminating pensions as the private sector has had to?
    Gary,
    Virginia Beach

    February 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  146. mark holbrook

    Jack
    So now the issue is we need goverment cut backs,but not in my back yard.Odd since I consider the U.S.is my backyard coast to coast.Politicians,what a waste of human flesh

    Mark
    KY

    February 3, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  147. VICTOR APONTE

    Jack, very simple vote out all of the incumbant Bums out and start anew. We no longer have anyone "beside our president" representing the people of this country and send a strong message that we no longer will tolerate these arrogant and self serving politicians. I can,t wait for that day to come!!!!
    Victor
    Oldsmar Fl

    February 3, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  148. Jason in California

    Many of these Senators are in the pockets of big corporations. Many of these corporations lived large during the Bush administration at the expense of working class Americans. Now they see their benefits on the chopping block and their sending out their Pit bull senators to do the barking. Millions of Americans are making sacrifices to get by. Now it's about time these corporations make some too. As for NASA & C-17 aircraft? Lets keep our money here on the ground where we need it.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  149. Doug T

    When it comes to state specific funding, representatives from that state should abstain or not be allowed to vote. It would not only prevent a conflict of interest, but might actually force politicians to start working together for a change...

    February 3, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  150. Armando Machado

    Each state should be asked to reduce federal projects/spending by the same "magic" percentage. Let them figure what to cut inside their state.

    Armando, Sarasota, FL

    February 3, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  151. Dave Brown

    Looking only at the interest expense on the federal debt we are looking at 450 billion dollars in interest payments for FY 2010. Given current spending trends, interest payments on the debt will grow to almost 1 trillion dollars by FY 2012. This represents a budgetary line item that is outside the control of Congress and the President. It will literally crowd out all other spending considerations.

    We simply must make meaningful changes to federal spending habits.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  152. Bob T. Southfield, MI

    America's problem is not "Big Government" the problem is our addictive dependence on "Big Government" and everything we expect that it should be doing for us. Our legislators are addicted to providing earmarks to prove to the constituents that they are working for them while they complain that government that is too large as are the budget deficits they generate. John Kennedy had the solution "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. Addictions prevent us from assuming our responsibilities while we expect others to "do for us". We are suffering from a national addiction and it is our responsibility to recover from it.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  153. Judy meader

    by rising taxes , have to pay taxes on life ins., for first tme and I don't get this money, cause is on me. judy

    February 3, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  154. Matt H

    It will be impossible to reduce our deficit until all politicians (and citizens) understand the need to cut and/or reduce programs in their home states. It will be especially difficult in the tough economy that we are facing, however, this is when you will see which politicians truly place the country's well-being ahead of their own popularity.

    Matt H
    Horntown, VA

    February 3, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  155. Denis Duffy

    When is congress going to wake up to the fact that the United States of America is broke? When is the President going to get on the bully pulpit and admit that we can't spend what we don't have. Voting Washington out of office seems to be the only way to wake them up.

    Denis Duffy
    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  156. Ric

    Jack,

    The answer is easy. NO. It can't be done as long as our politcal system has only two parties that will never budge from their respective party lines. They won't work for the good of the country as a whole because the country doesn't elect them. Their party shores them up to run (if they tow the line) when they win they are now party property. Their priorties are as follow: The Party, my backyard, the lobbist. The country itself doesn't even come in third.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  157. Gigi Oregon

    I think the best way to reduce the budget deficit is to go to a flat tax. A fair tax. A more accountable tax. That would actually collect enough tax to run a growing country and with transparence. Ask Steve Forbes. And not put the burden on the middle class or our grandchildren. But first we will have to vote out all the incumbents who will not vote for change in the way business is done. In 2000 many campaigned on the flat tax. We are so brain washed, "we the people" as well as our representatives, we can't change.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  158. Judith

    If there were more Progressive Democrats in the Senate maybe something could get done, but when the Senate is holding up around 7 bills that have already been passed by Congress that could help the financial problems so we can see where the problem lies. Too many Conservadems, and Republicans – which says to me it would be dangerous to vote out more Dems in the next election. Not only that, if the Republicans were to take back the house or Senate, you can rest assured the next 2 years will be spent impeaching President Obama. They're just waiting for their chance.
    Hasn't anyone noticed that after one year President Obama can't even get many of his people confirmed – people that could be helping the country at this time of crisis are being held up by Republicans and no one says a peep. The obstructionism is criminal and is deliberately being done to make sure President Obama succeeds at nothing.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  159. Marshall

    Two amendments to the Constitution would help to solve the problem:
    1) Repeal the 17 th Amendment – then the Senators would have to listen to their state and not have to worry about building massive campaign war chests,
    2) Pass a balanced budget amendment that would require to conform to the policies that they now require of the states.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  160. Richard, Kankakee, Illinois

    Thanks to the Republicans every Democrat is afraid to do the right thing in order to keep their seat. If they try to cut anything the Republicans jump all over the Democrats, and if they do not try and cut anything the Republicans jump all over them even more, either way it is a lose lose situation for the Democrats, because of the level of fear that the Republicans have created on purpose after they wrecked the whole country. The sad thing is that even most Independent voters these are not helping either by forcing bipartisanship on everyone when the Republicans will do nothing but just say no to everything.

    Question how in the hell did it get so bad, that the party that is in the minority has more power then the party who is the majority who wants to make changes to help the American People. While the Republicans are doing everything they can to stop our country from going forward just so they can gain back power at any cost, even if it hurts our whole country. It is very hard to work with someone who says do it our way on everything or we will let the country fail!

    February 3, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  161. jim Blevins

    Thanks for calling attention to the problem. Obama has already cut the F22 against furious objection - look for more such cuts.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    February 3, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  162. Betty in SC

    Let's be Real. In order to bring down the deficit, the economy has to refuel a bit more for jobs to come back. I think this Administration is on the right track. All this complaining about this President, is unfounded. He has only been in Office a year, and has worked since day one to get a hold of this Mess. He is putting all out there to build this economy as possible. That 10% jobless, has to be assisted until they can stand on their own. He has put out a plan to start to reduce this deficit. This President needs help from the Republicans to carry this Nation forward.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  163. Charles in ohio

    Jack: You ask if the US can reduce the national debt. The key word is US and that means us, the voter. We will never reduce the debt until we get rid of those that sit on their rears and will not participate. We can no longer accept "NO".

    February 3, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  164. shelly

    Jack, Maybe a little tough love. Most of us as parents know that taking away the things our childen want the most works. If we tell them to clean their room ( or their own backyard ) and they don't ,there should be consequences. Vote them all out would be the easiest thing to do. I personally beleive that if we all took away their government payed health insurance they might get a little closer to an agreement on that bill. Grab all their blackberry's and ground them for a week.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  165. ken, dover de

    The budget deficit will only be reduced when the voters make it clear they are ready to cut everything. I don't think the voters are willing to make the cuts so the politicians just keep dancing. Are the voters ready to cut defense 20%, eliminate agencies like education, energy, commerce, agriculture, nasa, homeland security, and raise the top rate to 90%. I don't think so, and the politicians know it.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  166. Ivy Smith

    Jack politicians do things for political reasons. Most don’t care about what happens to the people of the country, they complain about what the president is trying to do but show little guts in supporting him in this time of war. If this was world war 2 and this much anti president sentiment was shown it would call treason and treated as such. It use to be considered patriotism to button up your belt a little tighter to help the country but know it’s every man for there self, So much for patriotism

    February 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  167. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Simple, there are no background checks on who, what and why they get away with their own backyard spending.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  168. Gwen from Ohio

    Everyone would like to lessen the deficit – but first we need to create jobs – more people working, more income taxes coming in – we can worry about the deficit next year when unemployment has gone down!! Let's put money into education and our schools, get back on top of the worlds education podium – its a disgrace that only 24% of americans have a college degree – in Europe its well over 50% – if we want to cut the deficit we need to come up with the new green jobs, educate our people, put them back to work making good wages, their income taxes will pay down the deficit and we will become the new energy country!! Obama is trying – people aren't listening!!! The same people screaming about Obama said nothing when George Bush threw our money away on Iraq and wealthy tax cuts – even john McCain said tax cuts during a war are unpatriotic!!! At least Obama wants to spend money to help Americans!! If a tea baggers roof on their house blew off in a storm would they replace it to protect everything else or say they had to lower their deficit so don;t replace the roof and watch everything get ruined?? Same here we needed to spend money now to prevent a depression and we need to spend now to get jobs growing!!! Go Obama!!!!

    February 3, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  169. ron - american living in Copenhagen

    well, first - cut their salaries in half - cut their allowances by 80% - cut their support staff by half - link salaries to budget savings and productivity - outlaw, flat out, all earmarks – ban the lobby brigades totally, and cut the congress's health care benefits and make them live like ordinary Americans (if they can afford it - and as a previous comment said -- TERM LIMITS - 2 terms for senators, and 2 terms in the house - and, by the way, loose Nancy Pelosi - that ought to save a whole bunch right there considering how much she spent of our money here in Copenhagen when she wasn't (and her entourage) had no function in the COP at all

    Disgusted Ron

    February 3, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  170. Roger Orobi

    Jack, did you say some democrats and republicans don't want the deficit-reduction program undertaken by the Obama admistration? Well, this is bipartisan – the bipartison disagreement on deficit cutting

    Roger

    February 3, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  171. Richard, Kankakee, Illinois

    Until we get rid of all parties this country will circle the toilet bowl until it falls apart, that is fifty percent of the problem the rest is the American people who want everything but do not want to pay for it. And if their fellow American is going to be apart of any system that is being created they call it Socialism, or Communism, to make everyone afraid of not being seen as a true American!

    We have become nothing more then a nation that is afraid of everything even ourselves!

    February 3, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  172. Chris, NY

    President Obama, is the only adult in the room. It's a sad state of our union........

    February 3, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  173. Mike in New Orleans

    Let's be really, really Republican and not give any money to any of the states.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  174. Julie Palmdale,California

    Jack,
    It is all talk. We know it. They know it.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  175. lynne j.

    The best way to reduce the deficit is this: Federally mandated term limits. If the President can only stay two terms, so can they. No more staying for 30 years and whining about silly stuff while people are hurting. It would also kill the lobbyist problem too.

    Cut the senators down to two four year terms and keep the house representatives where they are two year terms.

    While at it, cut out their health insurance and pensions. Let their pay be what us regular people make to about $15,000 to $30,000.

    Congress needs to be humanized first before they get some sense when it comes to deficit reduction and the budget. Only then will they listen.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  176. Richard, Kankakee, Illinois

    Make everyone into an Independent no more parties, then and only then will they being to do the right thing!

    February 3, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  177. Donna

    Cut the debt by cutting the politicians pay – that including their big benefits, including the retirement packages. They got us into this mess and they DESERVE the losses just as we are experiencing them.

    It is apparant that most of the politicians couldn't go get a 'real' job where the market rules. They had to go ruin the rest of us.

    If they want to spend, it is past time they REPAY the Social Security fund, the fund the raped !!! PAY BACK Social Security and CUT the politicians benefits and pay.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  178. Richard Green

    Jack,

    If law makers just talk about cuts but won't reduce what they spend, the only option left (if deficit reduction is your goal) is to increase the amount of money flowing into the treasury.

    Establish a true national bank that we can deposit our paychecks in, get loans at competitive rates, issue credit cards with a limit on the rate charged that will put the fear of God into the big boys, make mortgages and keep them....don't bundle them and sell them off where they can be turned into toxic liabilities., and use all of the interest gained to pay the national debt off, fund education and healthcare, etc. etc.

    All it takes is the will to do it.
    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Ca

    February 3, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  179. Don in Grand Rapids , MI

    Jack, Congress has feasted for so long on PORK (the other whitete meat) that they won't listen to America. Bet that they will come November! Anyone and I mean anyone, Dems or Repubs that vote for more spending will find themslves filing for unemployment and food stamps!

    February 3, 2010 at 6:52 pm |