Editorial

1/5/2013

Political tug-of-war not the answer to debt issue

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, say they are serious about tackling the national debt. And at $16 trillion and rising, they should be. They and their parties are to blame for the financial mess the country is in today.

But no one is fooled, no fellow politician or constituent at home, by their conciliatory tone or remarks. Everyone has heard them before, again and again.

Embracing what is commonly referred to as political party ideology, each has his own idea of what should be on and off table when discussing budget cuts. Consequently, the actions they propose clash and nothing ever gets done other than filling the airwaves and newspapers across this country with more meaningless rhetoric, with nonsense. They are not members working together to solve the nation's indebtedness. They are working against each other, engaging in an intentional game of tug-of-war to see who can pull the most Americans to their side.

When all is said and done and the dust settles, nothing has been achieved or accomplished. The nation's debt continues to rise, unchecked and unchallenged by the men and women elected to manage the country.

There's a simple option both sides could adopt and use in the call of actually doing something. All expenses and expenditures could be based on one measurement and one measurement only, one that is apolitical.

The measurement: Need. Real need, to be even more precise.

Need does not include those frivolous costs or programs that Democrats would like to sustain in the budget or those sacred cows Republicans hope to keep holy during all attempts at budget-cutting. Need is what's necessary to keep Americans and America healthy and safe. Succeed at these two and the rest will fall in place.

This would be a far less contentious way out for politicians wanting to avoid voter ire next election time. Few could argue against what would be a fair measurement of worth or value, other than perhaps the very small segment of society benefiting from an expenditure that is eliminated from the budget because it is unnecessary.

Rep. Jack Kingston, R-1, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, has mentioned quite a few unneeded costs that are helping to overload the federal budget. And there are even more that he has not mentioned.

There is one other action Congress might consider implementing, and that's putting a hefty bounty on any individual, group, organization or business that is wasting tax-dollars or charging taxpayers more for a service or materials than what they are worth.