Saturday, July 16, 2011

Time to Act

Yesterday on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, regular commentator David Brooks, a conservative columnist for The New York Times (I understand that some of my right leaning friends might think that previous phrase an oxymoron, but he is conservative) said that he didn’t understand why the Republicans would be walking away from a deal wherein this so-called Socialist leaning Democratic president is offering 1.5 trillion dollars in spending cuts, including cuts to Social Security and Medicare that are sure to upset his base.

The aforementioned is part of a 4 trillion dollar deal that president Obama is pushing for, a combination of deficit reduction, significant spending cuts, and some revenue enhancements, most of which would come from closing corporate tax loopholes and repealing George W. Bush’s tax cuts on those making more than $250,000 per year.

What are the Republicans thinking? Do they think they are going to get more spending cuts out of this president, or any Democratic president for that matter? Do they not care about not raising the debt ceiling and allowing our nation to go into default? No, of course not – that’s why they have Sen. McConnell’s (R-KY) cynical suggestion to give the president the authority to raise the debt ceiling on his own, so they don’t have to take any responsibility for the issue. And yet, wait a minute…

Who was it that approved more spending than Mr. Obama asked for? The Congress. Who was it that approved spending for a prescription drug plan that was never paid for and two (arguably three) wars that were never paid for? Answer: the Congress.

It is far past time for this nonsense to stop. Perhaps Mr. Obama overstated his case yesterday when he said that 80% of Americans favored a balance approach to solving this problem, with a combination of spending cuts and increased revenue. The latest polls I’ve seen peg it at about 69%, which is still pretty significant, and which includes a significant number of folks from the other side of the aisle.

It is time to fix this problem. It is time to get control of our fiscal situation. It is time for legislators to do what we sent them to Washington for, namely, to legislate. And, it is far past time for everyone involved to come together and work for what is in the interest of the American people – not the republicans, not the democrats, but the American people.

There is plenty of blame to go around for the present situation, but the time to act is upon us. It’s far past time to end senseless subsidies to oil companies who are pulling in record profits. It’s far past time to end senseless subsidies for ethanol, which is a net loss when it comes to attempting to alleviate the emissions of greenhouse gases. And, it’s time to get real about cutting our spending and sensibly increasing revenues so we can get our fiscal house back in order.

It is, in short, time to act. Not to posture. Not to grandstand. It’s time to act.