With the 2011 election now over, we must now focus on the forthcoming 2012 Presidential Election. While there are many important issues facing this country right now, the most important one is the national debt. The US national debt is currently approaching $15 trillion and is rapidly rising. In September of 2008 the debt clock in New York City had to be rebuilt because it had run out of digits. Now, the country continues to spiral towards a financial disaster. A few years ago, Citizens Against Government Waste released the “Chinese Professor” advertisement. This frightening commercial featured a history professor at Beijing University in the year 2030. He discusses the fall of empires: the Ancient Greeks, the British, and lastly, the United States of America. Those last words should be enough to send shivers down the spines of all Americans. The professor continues, talking about how all of these empires “turned their backs on the principles that once made them great”. He alludes to the Americans’ overspending, before concluding “so now, they work for us”. This line draws some laughter from his students, but it should be no joke to Americans today.
America used to be a fiscally responsible nation. Prior to World War II, we never spent beyond our means. However, during the War we needed to have large deficit spending. The economy appeared to skyrocket, so Congress assumed this fiscal irresponsibility actually helped the economy. However, as French economist Frederic Bastait pointed out, what is seen does not always mean the same as what is unseen. What would have been called a stimulus in our time eventually led to a recession, then another, starting a pattern which continues to this day. As the Austrian School of economics teaches, what is good for the economy in the short-term is usually bad in the long-term and vice versa. Looking back, we can see how the war spending boosted the economy temporarily, but only until it crashed. The Financial Stimulus Package has done this as well. We need to reign in the government spending now.
For every problem, there ought to be a solution. Indeed, we can solve this issue simply by electing fiscally responsible leaders who know not to spend beyond the government’s means. Citizens may be dissatisfied with the cuts that have to be made, but if we don’t make them, our country may have collapsed in the next 15 years. As a 19-year old living in America, this really worries me. I shouldn’t have to be concerned about whether government policy will destroy the country by the time I turn 40. Our next president must be fiscally responsible. A Balanced Budget Amendment would be the first step in ensuring that we do not have a fiscal disaster. Since the president cannot pass amendments on his own, he should veto any unbalanced budget. A line-item veto would also allow the president to block certain parts of the budget that contain the most ridiculous waste. In any case, the next President needs to rein in spending and balance the budget. We cannot afford not to.
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