Monday, July 18, 2011

Debt compromise needed

Fear is a great motivator. No one knows this better than politicians.

The fear mongering going on in the halls of Congress and the Sunday morning news shows these days is at its absolute peak over the debt limit crisis.

To understand some talk about it, if we don't raise our debt limit, we won't be able pay our bills and the United States may be repossessed by China or whoever it is we owe that $14.3 trillion to.

Listening to the other side, they say the American people have called them directly and begged them not to raise the debt ceiling, for fear of devolving into a socialist state, complete with our own Karl Marx.

Truth is, I've heard very few people discuss the debt ceiling. Maybe you have, but I doubt it. I'd imagine that most of us don't entirely understand it. I know I don't. I have to trust what I read and hear … while trying not to have nightmares about us becoming either the Socialist States of America or the People's Republic of America. I must say that it seems funny, either way we become a communist state. So capitalism lead to communism. Hmmph.

This great red scare that our nation's right wing seems to be promoting just seems laughable to me, quite honestly. I've heard so many people call President Obama a socialist over the past couple years. And all because it's drilled into their heads by the likes of Fox News, talk radio and rapid email alerts.

I have no concerns whatsoever about the president leading us down the trail to communism. No more than I think he's a secret Muslim born in Kenya. Sadly, maybe I should point out that I don't think he's a secret Muslim born in Kenya … since some people do.

Defaulting on our loans, however, that sounds like it has some serious consequences. I know if you go over your credit limit on your credit card … or fail to make a payment, they jack your interest rates up. I don't really want $14 trillion in debt with high interest. That sounds unmanageable.

Of course, to be honest, I don't really want $14 trillion in debt.

It seems to me that a compromise is needed. The debt ceiling must be raised. But the debt also needs to be lowered. Sustaining payments on $14 trillion in debt is just unsustainable. It means we owe $46,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.

That can't stand.

I'd hope that our leaders would raise the debt ceiling while hammering out a plan to reduce long-term debt, so we don't have to have this conversation again next year.

And in the spirit of compromise, I think that everything should be on the table. That includes tax increases, military spending and Social Security. I bet most people my age don't really believe it's going to be there when we retire anyway.