My Turn: Taking another look at our debt crisis
March 13, 2012
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; A recent opinion piece in the Sierra Sun addressed the countryand#8217;s debt crisis and generally echoed an often repeated position of the only way of solving this crisis is by drastically cutting government spending.
We hear repeatedly from some of our elected officials: and#8220;We donand#8217;t have a revenue problem and#8212; we have a spending problem.and#8221; In my opinion what we really have is a common sense problem. If we do not solve this debt problem because our elected officials remain so entrenched in ideologies, future generations will look upon us with shame.
We all benefit from having a safe and modern infrastructure from a strong military and a good education system. Considering the sacrifices so many have made and are making today for the good of our nation, paying taxes pales in comparison. Everyone should be given a helping hand when needed to allow them to participate in the fruits of our society no one is entitled to a free ride.
The writer of the My Turn did point out that he felt spending should be curtailed in Social Security and Medicare. Throughout my career I felt that I could prepare well enough that Social Security and Medicare benefits would not be crucial to me in retirement. Economic and financial realities over the past ten or fifteen years, coupled with increasing health care costs have rendered that idea to be a pipe dream. A retired person who is a proponent of such cuts must have been able to reach this goal, I doubt the majority of his peers have done so.
Had past generations approached government spending or subsidies as some of us would like to, would the transcontinental railroad been built? Would we have the water projects and the Interstate Highway System today? Government spending should be seen as an investment in the future and should be done with a common sense approach. Even social programs today can provide benefits and possible savings for future generations. Obamacare may be expensive, but are we not paying for medical care for the uninsured in the form of inflated medical care costs and increased medical insurance premiums?
The various, voter-approved, added assessments on our property tax bill prove that people are willing to be taxed if they know the money spent will provide them a certain benefit and not be wasted. If higher taxes lead to a loss of jobs the obverse of this must not apply in view of the fact that we have had lower taxes and higher unemployment for the past several years.
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Donand#8217;t believe a politician who says he opposes government spending. No politician was ever re-elected by voting against government spending in his or her district.
A recent article in the Sierra Sun illustrates this point. In a report on a cut back in state spending on fire prevention for the forests surrounding our communities, Representative Gaines was noted in the article as being committed to having these funds restored without an indication as to how these funds would be made available. It makes common sense to spend the money on prevention now rather than pay for the consequences of a catastrophic fire.
We live in a democracy that was formed out of compromise. Our founding fathers did not agree on many issues concerning the role of government but through compromise they laid the ground work for the greatest society in history. This society cannot function or survive without compromises on all sides. Common sense must prevail over ideology.
Richard Haslag is a Truckee resident.