We’re told that if the “super committee” (a misnomer if ever there was one) appointed by Congress fails to come up with a plan to right our listing economy by next week, automatic, Draconian cuts will take effect. Of course, in typical ruling class fashion, they don’t take effect until 2013, coincidentally after the presidential election. But life is full of coincidences, isn’t it?

Reports are that the “supermembers” (my term—remember you heard it here first) are no closer to reaching consensus than on day 1, and this should come as no surprise to us. Ideology always trumps common sense. Like children squabbling in a sandbox, the left has drawn a line in the sand—no increased taxes on the rich, no cuts. The right panders to its ideological base: no increase in taxes; show me the cuts. While they wallow in this sandy quagmire they ignore that it’s actually quicksand, and it’s taking us all under.

In the early ‘90s Canada faced a similar debt crisis and a liberal government reversed it with a policy of spending cuts and tax increases with a ratio of seven-to-one, as summarized in a brief analysis by the National Post. While these analysts are pessimistic about the success of such an approach in our much bigger, and the world’s much sicker, global economy, I posit that the alternative, wallowing, guarantees failure. An intervention along Canadian lines is our last, best hope for a turn-around. Like everyone else (except most of those unfairly benefitting), I favor closing tax loopholes and “making everyone pay their fair share”, but this will barely shave a sliver off the deficit gap. While I don’t think tax increases are especially wise in dealing with what is predominantly a spending rather than a revenue problem, it is abundantly clear that an approach similar to Canada’s is what is needed to resolve the political/ideological deadlock. And we’ll need cuts to at least 2005 spending levels. We’ll need to preserve funding to critical services like our national defense, (although we can probably shave 15 or 20% off from waste, fraud and inefficiency alone), and we need a balanced budget amendment and overarching tax reform. We have to demand tough spending cuts to justify tax increases, not in a milksop 1:1 fashion.

Each day more dire predictions of what is to come float across the media. Today, polls were quoted stating the favorability ratings for the Congress are lower than for polygamy and pornography. As an electorate, we’re the employers. If our employee-leaders can’t do the job, we need to throw them out. Let’s stop allowing them to bribe us with our own debt.


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