Congress needs to return to living within budget

To the editor:

With the recent debate and discussion about the so-called “fiscal cliff,” we should not ignore or forget the recent history of federal spending. You notice how the mainstream media ignores issues which do not reflect well upon our President’s performance in the last four years. I want to summarize just a few important facts we should not forget.

1. There have been four years of trillion dollar plus deficits. This year, we end the year with a $1.1 trillion deficit marking the fourth year of trillion dollar plus deficits. The obvious root cause of these deep and unsustainable deficits is too much spending.

2. National debt has hit $16 trillion. We owe more on our national debt than the entire U.S. economy produced in goods and services in all of 2012.

3. U.S. debt limit has been raised and needs to be raised again. Our credit rating has been lowered.

4. There has been no federal budget in nearly four years. The last time both chambers of Congress agreed on a budget was on April 29, 2009. Since then, Congress and the Obama administration operate on a spend-as-you-go basis.

5. Social Security ran a deficit of over $45 billion for the second year in a row. Benefits exceed the amounts it took in from the payroll tax.

6. More than 40 percent of Americans are on some government program. That means nearly 130 million people depend upon government for basic needs.

7. Obamacare is projected to increase federal health spending by nearly 15 percent and will cost $1.7 trillion over 10 years.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Our federal government needs to adopt a budget and follow it.

Budgeting requires us to live within our means, not increasing those means to satisfy excessive and unsustainable spending. Congress needs to restore the regular practice of budgeting, as required by law. We are seeing deliberate neglect by congressional leaders, especially in the Senate. What we have seen in the last four years is fiscal dysfunction, a bailout culture and the increase of a “something-for-nothing” approach to government. We need to return to self-reliance, self-discipline and self-respect; hopefully, before it is too late.

Dave Molek