Saturday, April 23, 2011

Living Within Our Means

"Living within our means". That phrase has become a mantra for politicians in this day and age. They say that government must learn to live within it's means, like families have learned to live within their means. When families need to live within in a budget, they learn to make cuts, like shopping for groceries more efficiently and cheaply, cutting down on expenses and saving money where ever and when ever possible. Politicians think that this same scenario should work for government, and to some extent that is true. However, they way politicians are going about making cuts and lowering the budget is draconian. Families would never sacrifice a family member, such as an elderly parent, disabled child or ill family member in order to 'balance their budget'. Politicians seem to think this is OK; they choose to balance the budget on the backs of society's most vulnerable, the poor, the elderly, children and the disabled, by making cuts to government programs that are lifelines for these families. A family would find a way to raise their revenue, either by taking on additional work or increasing their revenue some other way. Politicians have been cutting and cutting to the point where there is no more to cut. It's time to look at a new source of revenue, and that is to raise taxes on those Americans who can well afford to shoulder the burden. Over the last decade Americans have paid the lowest taxes in generations. A report out recently indicates that wealthy Americans paid the least amount in taxes than they have in generations and some Americans paid no taxes. Meanwhile the US government has been engaged in two wars. Money that could have gone to health care, education and entitlements such as Medicare was instead spent in Iraq, where our brave soldiers put their lives on the line, but did their efforts and bravery do anything for Americans? I'm not saying that their efforts were in vain, but I do question the decision to send them into war. Meanwhile, back home in the US, we are preparing to fight a different kind of war, the war against Alzheimer's. The silver tsunami that is about to engulf the US health care system as baby boomers age, could quite possibly bankrupt this country's healthcare system. Paul Ryan has proposes changes to Medicare that would drastically cut benefits just as we are embarking on this war. Patients, medical professionals and caregivers are already stressed beyond limit. Can you imagine what it will be like in a decade or less? Alzheimer's is predicted to increase many-fold. We are being short-sighted if we think that cutting Medicare to balance the budget is a good thing. It's time to bite the bullet and understand that we need our priorities straight if we are to remain free.