The bottom line on the nation's fiscal crisis is this: We need more people employed and paying taxes. We need the poor -- and the job creators -- to get to work.
The goodness of work, driven by a healthy ambition, is what makes America tick. It's an idea deeply embedded in our national psyche. Waves of pilgrims and immigrants didn't cross the oceans to sign up for welfare checks; they came for the opportunity to earn a better life through blood and toil.
When that inner fire is extinguished, economies suffer. Innovation stalls. Vitality fades. In a modern context, budget deficits widen as tax revenues dwindle, benefit spending explodes, and the masses clamor for redistributive policies to keep the fiscal charade going. Debt accumulates. Panics strike. In other words, the situation being faced over in Europe as a culture of leisure mixes with a bloated welfare system and a "soak the rich" mentality to disastrous effect.
The United States is on the same dangerous path. Industrious upward mobility is being replaced by idleness funded by foreign bondholders and a narrowing group of wealthy taxpayers. Too few are feeling the sting of Uncle Sam's spendthrift ways. And too many are replacing private-sector wages with government handouts. The only way out is to stop the coddling and "tax" the "poor." Here's what I mean, and why.
Paying their fair share
I'm playing with the definitions here, while trying to make two big points. The first is that America is on an unsustainable fiscal course. The debt/deficit problem is acute. Each day, the national debt hits a new high. It stands at nearly $16.8 trillion, or more than $53,100 for every man, woman and child in this country.
Yet only the opposition party in Washington has set a goal of balancing the budget. And even then, the Republican House budget proposal doesn't balance for 10 years. Democrats, both in Congress and in the White House, don't believe even that is a priority. The proposal from Senate Democrats never balances and would run a deficit worth 2.1% of gross domestic product in 2023.
There are no easy fixes.
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