Yesterday Senator Harry Reid finally proposed a budget plan – one week before the United States is set to default. It is about time that Senate Democrats joined President Obama and House Republicans in offering a concrete budget proposal; however, their budget plan passes the buck onto future generations.
The government cannot continue to leave budget woes to future generations, and this is exactly what Senator Reid is trying to do. In fact, after viewing a video found on his website, he seems rather proud of the fact that his budget proposal doesn’t touch the three largest entitlements—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—which alone consist of 40 percent of federal spending in 2010 (entitlement spending makes up 57 percent of federal spending). Instead of making the tough call, proposing reforms and cuts to spare future generations from the large financial burden these programs bring, the Senate Democrats are deciding to continue with things as they are. Judging by the current financial state of the U.S. this is rather problematic.
The Senate Democrats’ budget proposal disregards the principles of stewardship. By not cutting or reforming entitlements they are not looking long term to ensure the creation of a strong and stable economy for our children and grandchildren. Jordan Ballor in his commentary “Do Less with Less: What the History of Federal Debt and Tax Leverages Teaches” offers a pretty common sense solution for Senator Reid:
Raising taxes without such assurances, even for such a critical cause as the public debt crisis, is pure folly. To really address the structural deficits at the heart of the federal budget, particularly with respect to entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (which together accounted for 40 percent of federal spending in 2010), the government simply needs to find ways to do less with less.
Entitlements have greatly contributed to our deficit problem, and a sound budget solution will recognize their contribution to the deficit and look to rectify the situation.
As Samuel Gregg articulates in “Deficit Denial, American-Style” the U.S. must pay off its debt if it hopes to economically grow and flourish:
After examining data on 44 countries over approximately 200 years, two economists recently found evidence suggesting that developed nations with gross public debt levels exceeding 90 percent of GDP (i.e., America) find that their medium-growth rates fall by one percent, while average growth declines by an even greater proportion.
The United States can begin down the path of prosperity by shrinking government and doing less with less and fostering an economic climate that is strong and vibrant for future generations.
Also see the Acton Institute’s Principles for Budget Reform which can be viewed by clicking here.