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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions October 20, 2014

1/3/2013 10:00:00 PM
Editorial: Time for Congress to make tough choices
The Daily Courier

The 113th Congress is open for business, and their first concerns involve how they do business - specifically the ongoing deficit spending that continues to add to the national debt.

The new members of Congress were sworn in Thursday, including Arizona's freshmen: Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, previously in the House, joins three other Republicans, eight Democrats and one Independent in the Senate; Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick from District 1 and Kyrsten Sinema from District 9 join 47 other Democrats sworn in; and Republican Rep. Matt Salmon from District 5 joins 34 other Republicans. This is not Kirkpatrick's or Salmon's first time in the job; they are back after previously losing their seats.

At issue for them and the rest of Congress is the practice of the government spending more money than it takes in.

"The American dream is in peril," House Speaker John Boehner said after being re-elected to his post. "We have to be willing - truly willing - to make this right."

To paraphrase what President Obama said earlier this week, now the government must pay the bills for what Congress has spent.

The truth is, as the United States surpasses $16 trillion in debt and the debate over the debt ceiling renews, the "fiscal cliff" deal actually preserved billions in corporate tax giveaways, even as it slashed the take-home pay for millions of Americans. At the same time, at year's end, Obama issued an executive order to end the pay freeze on federal employees, in effect giving some federal workers a raise - including Vice President Joe Biden and members of Congress.

When was the last time you - Joe American - received a raise?

Based on the past month of negotiations, both the president and Congress seem unwilling to make long-term decisions in terms of the tax code that are likely to be unpopular.

The bottom line is our government remains intensely partisan and divided. How our leaders will choose to do business will tell us if 2013 will be business as usual or whether they will balance the federal checkbook.

Moving toward the latter is responsible government and what we need. It will require making tough choices.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: The Reason It Is An Issue...

is we are on the brink of crossing a line of no return. The national debt is a score card of sorts. As our debt increases to levels equal to our national output, our ability to repay or even pay it down decreases. We are consuming more than we produce, while promising to pay back those who loan us the money. Wimpy always asked for a hamburger saying he will gladly pay you back on Tuesday. Well Tuesday is here.

One word, inflation, the Federal Reserve raised the alarm bells this week. The money train is in the tunnel and all it sees is a small light at the end. Is it open skies are a wall with a lantern. When goods become scarce and there is more money, not production, prices will increase.

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: 1.7% SS Raise Is A Joke

Having worked all my life and now retired, I rely on my SS/pension checks to live. This is what the government intended and having taken out these taxes with interest, give me a 1.7% pay raise. I should get what these politicians receive every year. Pathetic way to treat those who have worked so long and hard and gave their tax money to our treasury.

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: Federal Employee

We haven't had a raise since I've been one. That's hardly fair. We make less money too. Sure we get cheap health insurance but I haven't used it. I think "we" used to get a 2% raise every other year. That's not much.

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: Who Cares?

This is not real money. The government can print money, they do it all the time. They have a legal obligation to provide Social Security and Medicare so they have no choice about all that spending. It's just the cost of doing business. This is not new and it's not going away. So get over it.

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: Bad Decisions

Congress makes bad decisions and sometimes very "stupid" ones. More gun laws and legalizing marijuana really doesn't make sense. How about "gang" laws instead. It's all a show for political gain, nothing more or less.

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: So 'there you go ...'

Where have you been? THE COURIER has been hitting Washington for years! If its been 70 years, it's OK?

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

They'll have to raise the debt ceiling, everyone knows that. Obama's committed to maintaining all of the entitlements and spending. In his own words his economic philosophy revolves around "equalization" by using the "trickle up" economic theory. Those who voted for him knew this full and well, even though when you talk to them they can deny it (it's in writing) and still say the national debt has to be corrected. Which isn't true, it doesn't have to be corrected and it will increase until something bad happens. Once something bad happens the US will be beyond repair. The good news is that I won't be around to see it. But I will get the heck out of here, because America is not looking good anymore. It was nice while it lasted though. China has all the cards now. Our government should be more like theirs.

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

The country reelected this pompous idealist November 6th. He feels "anointed" to continue his destruction of capitalism and the economic engine of America. At least congress eliminated his executive order on the federal pay raise. Maybe there is hope yet.

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: Tongue-in-Cheek .

What is to change? Nuttin Honey. Call it what you will, but I sure didn't see any un-coerced (R) fingerprints on this cliff deal. OR didn't you hear, OBAMA won, so we are off to see the Wizard the wonderful Wizard of OZ. A drug addict will never change until they hit rock bottom, so goes our once wonderful country. When you pay for everything with a credit card, there is no "CHANGE" coming back.

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: Mike Bates

The President and Democrats in Congress have expressed their willingness to make more changes in the tax code, including ridding the nation of destructive fossil fuel subsidies, and ending the accounting fiction that allows venture capitalists to claim management fees as capital gains. But Republicans have said they're not going to consider further increases in revenue even if it is intended to pay down debt they have already sanctioned. So, our only hope is sequestration, and the prospect of paring Defense back to rational levels, even if does mean we have to accept cuts social programs as part of the deal. I think we'll see pretty quickly which party is really interested in spending cuts.

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: Dear Editor

I have no idea what your economics background looks like, but, I don't want the federal budget balanced, right away. There are two economics truisms that come into play here. One is, you can't borrrow your way to prosperity. The other is, you can't cut your way to prosperity. Both are true. success lies in the middle. You have to slowly lower the deficit and encourage economic growth at the same time. If congress were to develop a 5 to 8 year plan to balance the budget, that would be a reasonable approach. Let us say, hwever that if the U.S. were to balance the budget this year, as you opine for, it would in all probability send this country and the rest of the world into a staggering depression.

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: James Madison

If it goes the way the it usually goes...there will be no change.

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: Remember The Alamo

Both the President and Congress agree on one thing-- more spending. Everyone knows that spending buys votes and cuts lose votes. A simple fact. To do any real cuts is political suicide. Congress will holler and debate raising the debt ceiling. But they will raise it with no real cuts to spending (just like last time). The CBO says by 2016 the debt will be over $22 trillion(that is IF the USA is still alive). Why do all the Congressmen resort to name-calling when underneath they are all the same? The US is doomed.

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: David Kerr

The pork in the hurricane Sandy relief bill should cause the House to defeat it and take up a Kosher version. We need more people in congress like Jeff Flake "kills more pork than Jimmy Dean."

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2013
Article comment by: There You Go Again

Really! Where has this editorial been for the last 70 or 80 years. Congress has been spending on average 140% of its income for decades. Why is this just now an issue?

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