By Ronny O'leary Columnist
As we go through our college careers, we all have a lot on our minds, such as passing exams and finding jobs. However, one thing many of usprobably do not consider is our collective budget crisis.
The government’s budget deficit (annual expenditures minus annual revenue)is currently at $1.3 trillion, and our national debt (the total amount of money we owe) is currently at over $16 trillion. According to KyPost.com, Senator Rob Portman put the national debt into perspective by saying that if the entire amount were laid out in $1 bills, it would stack to the moon four times or fill the Sears Tower 31times.
We should care about this because the debt will need to be paid somehow, either through tax increases or spending cuts. If taxes are increased, then businessmen may be deterred from investing in this country. In this time of high unemployment, especially among younger Americans, the last thing we want is for businessmen to show a lack of financial faith in America. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office has stated that the president’s proposed tax increases would generate almost $1 trillion over 10 years. This translates to about $100 billion per year out of a $1.3 trillion deficit. This minimal effect would likely be canceled out if government spending keeps growing at its current rate. On the other hand, decreased spending may result in unemployment in the areas affected. Thus, any solution will have some short-term unpleasant effects.
I personally feel that we should focus on spending cuts. By this, I mean real cuts in government expenditure, not just cuts in the growth of government spending. We need not immediately cut welfare spending; indeed, that may have negative consequences, since so many people have become dependent.
However, there are areas where we can cut spending with minimal consequences, including overseas conflicts and the war on drugs. Aside from being unconstitutional and causing great harm, these wars make up a large portion of the budget. This may divert resources from the manufacture of weaponry, but it would also make resources available for commercial types of manufacturing that are more productive.
After all, it seems like such a waste of resources to manufacture products that will just be destroyed in unnecessary and illegal wars.We will need to cut spending across the board, but this would be a good starting point. Decreasing government spending would also put more money in taxpayers’ hands, and we can start making our own decisions about how to spend our income.
To conclude, we are inheriting a massive debt caused by the notion that the government can make things better by spending more money. Only by dispelling this myth can we bring the debt under control and ensure that America continues to prosper.