Well, we didn’t fall off the “fiscal cliff” last week. The much hyped fall was averted after the U.S. House of Representatives voted 257-167 to pass the Senate measure, which primarily was just a tax increase on people making over $400,000 a year. But the Senate measure did little to address the problem of U.S. government spending and our over $16 trillion national debt. In fact, the measure will add over $4 trillion in additional debt over the next ten years. So much for the deadline set by Congress for themselves requiring them to finally deal with our debt problem.
In honor of another fine example of the continued ineptitude of our elected officials, I offer some quotes by some famous, and not so famous, people.
“I will not be a party to stealing money from one group of citizens to give to another group of citizens; no matter what the need or apparent justification.” That quote was from President Grover Cleveland, who was U.S. President during the last decade of the 1800’s. It sounds heartless and without compassion to today’s Americans, who are so used to “entitlements.” It sounds especially harsh when you realize that he made the statement in reference to government helping an orphanage in New York City during a severe financial crisis. But he explained himself when he added, “Once the coffers of the federal government are open to the public, there will be no shutting them again.” That is why Congress has been so unwilling to deal with the out of control government spending. It’s hard to slow down that flow of money and benefits to voting citizens once they start. The voters won’t like it and may decide to put those elected officials out of a job.
Maybe that’s why another famous politician once wrote, “A democracy is not a form of government to survive. For it will only succeed until its citizens discover they can vote themselves money from the treasury, then they will bankrupt it.” By the way, that politician was Karl Marx, who wrote The Communist Manifesto and is considered the father of socialism.
John Adams was the second President of the United States. Being stuck between Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Adams tends to be overlooked. But he was a patriot and instrumental in the founding of this country. While a firm believer in our democratic form of government, he warned, “Remember, that democracy never lasts long. It wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
Another person wrote, “The best thing about a democracy is that the people get to decide their fate; majority rules. The worst thing about a democracy is that the people get to decide their fate; majority rules. Remember, the same people who greeted Jesus with ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ would just one week later scream, “Crucify Him!’” Okay, I just wrote that, but it’s still a pretty good quote.
The fiscal cliff is history, for now. Congress decided to “kick the can down the road” concerning spending and the deficit for a couple of months. New deadlines will then again have to be faced. I’ve already heard it called in the media, “March Madness.” Congressman Mike McIntyre, the representative from our district voted against the Senate fiscal cliff measure. In a press release, he stated, “The financial markets, small business and the American people are looking for stability and accountability, not a temporary fix. A comprehensive solution is needed that includes getting our national debt under control and reining in government spending.” Let’s see what happens in a couple of months.
If done properly, it will involve serious cuts in spending throughout government. That includes defense, social security, farm subsidies, Medicaid, Medicare, social programs. In other words, just about everywhere. It won’t be easy. And if it is done correctly, none of us will like it. But we realize that it is necessary. Or we can continue to demand cuts, but don’t touch my favorite program! And we, as a country, and our children will end up like Karl Marx predicted, bankrupt.
We continue to blame the politicians in Washington for this mess; and they are such an easy target. But, remember, we elected them. In one last quote, Pogo, from the old comic strip, sighs, “We have met the enemy… and he is us!”