FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
"Everything has to be on the table." That's what Pres. Obama says about reducing our skyrocketing deficits. Don't bet on it.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/28/art.debt.clock.jpg caption="The National Debt Clock in Manhattan."]
For one thing the president refuses to say which programs may be cut. And, other lawmakers have been all over the place lately saying what they want off the table. No value-added tax, no cuts to Social Security, and not allowing tax cuts for low and middle income families to expire.
All this as the president's 18-member bipartisan debt commission gets to work. The commission is meant to bring the federal budget down to three percent of the country's GDP by 2015. Right now the deficit is on track to be double that.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke warns that if we don't do something about these deficits they will do "great damage" to the U.S. economy. Bernanke says our debt levels are on an "unsustainable path."
Budget experts point out that new measures will have to rein in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security costs. But we continue to be represented by people who won't make any tough decisions because they're afraid if they do they won't be reelected. Time to vote them out. We can't keep kicking the deficit can down the road any longer.
And don't get too excited about this so-called debt panel created by Pres. Obama, either. It has no legal authority. They need 14 of the 18 members to agree to any recommendations, which can then be ignored by Congress. This is sort of like sitting on the railroad tracks, seeing the train barreling down on you, and refusing to move out of the way.
Here’s my question to you: How serious is Congress about reducing the national debt?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Rick in Seattle writes:
That won't happen until constituents say that they are willing to accept cuts in entitlements in exchange for serious cost-cutting, tax reform and loophole-filling. And when it does happen, I expect that the heaviest burden of cuts will fall on programs that benefit poor and struggling individuals, rather than the tax-incentivized, corporate welfare programs (including defense and agriculture) to which our economy has become addicted.
Some of the 18 members of the Debt Commission were on the similar Debt Commission during the Clinton administration. And, if history is correct, they made great strides and left the country debt-free with an actual budget surplus. We can only hope this commission will do half as well.
Ed in California writes:
About as serious as they are when it comes to implementing the already-standing immigration laws.
Not at all. This is the most corrupt and dishonest Congress I have ever witnessed. No real effort to correct years of misguided fiscal policy, and too willing to increase spending on anything that can keep them elected.
Until the government actually decides to cut back on military spending, they will never be serious about balancing the budget. We have endless amounts of uproar about welfare, Social Security and health care, but all are dwarfed by what Iraq, Afghanistan and our contracts with the military-industrial complex cost, and until that is addressed, the U.S. will never pull out of debt.
Al in Gorham, New Hampshire writes:
Jack, Congress will never get serious about the debt until someone takes away their printing press. They remind me of my ex-wife… "We can't be out of money. There are still checks in the check book!"