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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Blame the spending for our debt crisis

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I fully admit I don't know exactly what to make of the credit rating downgrade for our great nation. I know just enough to understand that it hurts our image around the world and that it has the potential for impacting interest rates for consumers.

Beyond that, I know very little.

But I can judge reaction to the downgrade and, on that score we can gain a unique insight into the world of Obama.

The first administration spokesman who paraded in front of the cameras on Sunday morning blamed the downgrade on fuzzy math by the ratings agency.

When that story line didn't seem to resonate, the administration returned to their favorite theme - it was the Republicans and specifically the Tea Party members who brought this downgrade to our doorsteps.

But then that story line too sounded stale, so the ever-loving Barney Frank opined that it was surely defense spending that helped put a dent in our ship of state.

Of course, the real problems with these administration talking points is that the head of the ratings agency also had a chance to discuss the reasoning behind the downgrade. And his response was that the country must get a handle on spending, specifically entitlement spending. At least for now, he said nothing about tax increases.

So despite the administration's various story lines, it appears that some in Congress clearly had it right - the problem is spending.

Who would have guessed?

The average taxpayer would like to know why Social Security and Medicare - two programs funded by our hard-earned taxes - are the sole programs that seem to fall under the entitlement umbrella.

For example - we've "fought" the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs for decades with absolutely no success. None!

So can we not at least examine some of the poverty programs that siphon trillions from our pockets? Is there abuse? Are millions of Americans receiving billions in benefits that do little to change their financial status?

Perhaps we'll eventually raise the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare and perhaps that alone will vastly improve our bottom line.

But if it's fair to ask taxpayers to pay more for less benefits, can we not at least explore the possibility that some of our poverty and drug programs take precious funds with limited or no benefits?

I'll gladly pay more for longer in return for answering one simple question.

And here it is.

Why am I asked to provide my hard-earned tax dollars to benefit those who make not one single sacrifice to help themselves? Am I a bad person for questioning why someone can drive a shiny Escalade to the welfare office? Am I just too sensitive when I stand behind the woman at the grocery store who holds her iPhone in one hand and her food stamps in the other?

OK, so maybe these issues will not solve the debt crisis. But it would damned well make it more palatable for me to fork over more taxes to help this great nation if someone - anyone - would at least address these issues.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen