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Bobing Along

 

By BOB BILLETER

Republicans Reveal Their Budget

Last week Republicans in Congress unveiled their budget for the new fiscal year. The House budget would achieve balance and it includes deep spending cuts to domestic programs and fundamentally overhauls the Medicare system. It would convert Medicare from a guaranteed benefit to a "premium support" system in which future retirees would purchase insurance with government subsidies on the private market.
The Senate Republicans unveiled their first budget in nearly a decade. Their 10-year plan would balance the budget, raise no new taxes and repeal Obamacare but keep Medicare and Social Security intact.
Wouldn't it make sense for our government to start living within its means and balance its budget? Of course it would. My wife and I have a balanced budget. Huge numbers of responsible people have balanced budgets. So why doesn't the government do the same? They can't do it because they stay in power by spending money we don't have and convincing voters that their deficit spending is creating prosperity in the country.
People buy this argument and ignore the fact that the deficit spending is putting us into deeper and deeper debt every year and creating runaway inflation. It passes a back-braking debt down to our children and grandchildren and future generations.
Talk of budgets, runaway spending and financial problems is not very exciting. That is why so many people spend so little time thinking about this serious problem. It is much more interesting to watch the Steelers play or to turn on a situation comedy on the TV.
When I was only 6 or 7 years old I used to listen to my grandfather talk about the course our country was taking and tell the grown members of the family that our society was on the wrong course. That was 82 years ago. Amazingly many thinking people are expressing the very same opinion today. Are they right?
The liberals tell us that they are wrong. We're a fantastically rich country and we can afford the debt we are running up, they opine. Most people seem to agree with that opinion because the liberals keep winning elections and dramatically changing the way our system works.
The truth is that living within our means would not only make life better for our descendants but it would make life better for us. Inflation, created by runaway spending, makes it more difficult for all of us to pay our bills and it destroys the savings of responsible people. Too many people save all their lives and then see inflation wipe out their savings after they retire.
Often the result is that these people live 30 or 35 years after retirement and their funds are so meager the last few years of their life that sometimes they can't afford the food necessary to keep them healthy. That, to me, makes the proponents of deficit spending false prophets.
It is extremely depressing for me to realize how affluent our society could be if we were smarter. For generations we have shown the world the way to prosperity. But our prosperity could be much, much greater if our system was more efficient, if we had a sound financial underpinning.
So will the Republicans be able to return the country to intelligent spending? Probably not. The liberals will be on the tube before the elections telling us what great things we can enjoy if we elect them and allow them to continue to borrow trillions of dollars and provide buckets of goodies for them.
Millions of us will listen to them and fall for the old shell game. Inflation, that wipes out the savings of thoughtful people, will continue and an apple will undoubtedly cost $400 by 2060.
Many people will brag that they have become millionaires. But a new 4-cylinder car will cost $800,000 — that's if you don't get a radio. Welcome to the brave new world, America.

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