“Yes, We Can” mentality must give way to a renewed era of fiscal responsibility
Yesterday, Barack Obama said that the $787 billion so-called “stimulus” package he signed into law would be only the first of many such steps taken by our federal government to revitalize the American economy. Also, General Motors asked American taxpayers for another $30 billion–on top of the $13.4 billion previously given–as a matter of life-or-death survival for the automaker. And, more states like New Jersey and cities like Philadelphia are forcing workers to take a number of unpaid vacation days in an attempt to save a few million dollars, while California, facing out-and-out bankruptcy, has already suspended income tax refunds, is now preparing to lay off tens of thousands of workers, and has asked the federal government for assistance.
The answer is NO. Enough is enough.
Start looking after your own balance sheets, people. Don’t have the money for the newest social program, the next endowment, the cushy perk? Don’t spend it. Not generating enough income to cover the social programs, endowments and perks you already have? Cut ‘em back, cut ‘em out, and begin looking at long-term economic growth. Let’s start practicing the same sort of fiscal responsibility being practiced by families from coast to coast, families struggling to make ends meet, families wondering where the next dollar is coming from.
As was reported nearly ten days ago here at America’s Right, General Motors just recently sent $1 billion of the $13.4 billion provided by American taxpayers to Brazil in an attempt to bankroll operations in that country, citing the rising costs of doing business as an American automaker in America. Honestly, as much as I don’t like it, I don’t blame GM one bit. After all, the $13.4 billion previously provided by American taxpayers was earmarked for that company’s very survival and, by shipping some of that money overseas, GM essentially admitted that an American automaker in its current form cannot sustain itself by doing business in America as such business is currently done.
General Motors, rather than once again coming to the trough for more of our hard-earned money like some pimple-faced shopaholic teenager with daddy’s American [Taxpayer] Express card, needs to have a “Come to Jesus” moment and decide, right now, whether or not it wants to succeed or fail, whether it wants to live or die. Choosing the latter, the consequences are self explanatory. Choosing the former will require serious decision-making, including the necessary paring of redundancy in product lines and business models alike, and including what will be an undoubtedly bloody confrontation with the United Auto Workers union.
Either way, General Motors must realize that it simply cannot continue on this path. In the meantime, the American public must also understand what is currently transpiring and insist that, when it comes time for our lawmakers to decide whether to turn over more taxpayer funds to failing, floundering and stubborn American automakers, the answer is NO.
The rules apply to government as well. Cities like Philadelphia and states like New Jersey and California must realize that, while they may be microcosms of the federal government, the same basic rule which applies to American families from coast to coast applies to themselves — live within your means.
That means that governments of all sizes must comb, line by line, through every aspect of their budget and cut unessential expenses and services at every point possible. Philadelphia may no longer be able to spend the same amount on art projects and murals and event sponsorships and union-driven bridges to nowhere. Perhaps those city-paid vehicles provided to city council members already making $112,000 per year should go.
Priorities must be set. California, for example, is far too bloated–pumped up, you might say–and, before plans to furlough employees or withhold tax refunds or raise taxes across the board come to fruition, should probably think twice about spending more than $12 billion each year to clothe, feed, educate, incarcerate and provide healthcare to illegal immigrants, people breaking the law simply by being here in the first place.
Living within your means also requires that shortfalls in revenue be confronted not only by spending cuts, but by solutions with the capacity to provide for long-term growth rather than short-term tourniquets which will inevitably stifle growth and cause lasting harm in the long run. Philadelphia, for example, could not only drastically cut back on spending but could draw business and industry into the city once again by eliminating the growth-stifling four percent wage tax. New Jersey, too, could draw more in terms of tourism and new residents alike by reducing taxes and fees across the board. Likewise, California could listen to the courageous Republican leadership in that state and not only refuse to increase taxes, but actually reduce them in order to woo commerce long ago chased out by the smothering actions of those in Sacramento.
Enough is enough with regard to this bailout mentality. Eventually, the trough will dry up, and daddy will no longer be willing to pay off that exponentially growing credit card balance. We must quit raising our hands for a handout and, instead, roll up our sleeves and prepare to do the difficult thing in the name of long-term American prosperity.
The difficult thing means no more taxpayer money for failing companies which refuse to truly make the necessary changes to ensure survival. Providing the funds with only the most superficial facade of oversight and accountability serves no purpose when it comes to motivation to do the right thing, and only stands to increase the burden on our children and children’s children.
The difficult thing means that governments of all sizes should stop with the increased taxes, already. Strangling the public and the private sector with an increased tax burden will only hinder growth, not enable it. In Oregon and Massachusetts, for example, lawmakers are considering a mileage tax in lieu of a gasoline tax, a proposition which will hit nearly every family and business hard in the wallet and petty cash drawer. In New York, Gov. Patterson is taxing everything from soda to pornography downloads and everything else in between, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has even considered taxing plastic shopping bags. Similar “sin” taxes are also being seen in Oregon too, as the debate over a 1,900 percent increase in taxes on beer is currently raging. The mentality isn’t just limited to liberals in the United States, either — in Australia, officials there are considering the implementation of a tax based upon each flush of the toilet. That just stinks.
Just as is necessary in homes and in families across America, this is a time for the government to practice fiscal responsibility. It is a time to say “no, we cannot” rather than provide a blanket, all-encompassing “yes, we can.” America as we know Her hangs in the balance, and the welfare, prosperity and freedom of future generations of Americans depend on decisions we make today.