Democrats have the stronger deficit plan
Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 16:07
Our country's national debt stands at a startling $14.5 trillion – and politicians from both sides of the isle have provided their own answers to reducing the deficit and getting our fiscal house in order. However, the bulk of these proposals are rooted in ideology and political self-interest – not what is right for the American people.
The College Democrats at UCF believe that public servants are elected to serve this nation, not their own political ambitions. The only solution to cutting the deficit will stem from a shared sacrifice – both sides coming to a compromise and making bold and difficult decisions. This includes cuts to spending, increasing revenue, yet still investing in the future.
We must first dispel the myth that government spending "kills" jobs. Alan Blinder of the Wall Street Journal says it best – noting the absurdity of the Republican proposal that cutting funding for public workers will actually create more jobs. Yes, inefficient projects and programs may need to be reformed, but because they are inefficient, not because they are "killing jobs." Our economy is still in a fragile state and investments in the American people are an integral part in achieving a full recovery from the 2009 recession. The same article cites the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as estimating the stimulus package created at least 1.3 million new jobs in 2010 and perhaps as many as 3.3 million; that doesn't sound like "job-killing" to me. Yet despite that, we still have high levels of unemployment.
So we have quite a challenge before us: a weak economy and a massive deficit. Therefore, we must find balanced solutions that include a shared sacrifice to ensure our government lives within its means, and our economy can continue to grow. We need to cut defense spending and wars abroad; according to the Congressional Budget Office, defense spending comprises an unsustainable 20 percent of our national budget. We may also face reforms to entitlement spending, but we cannot reduce the deficit on the backs of the elderly, poor and disabled. They carry a heavy enough burden; they're facing unemployment and having to pay the taxes of the wealthiest of Americans. And that's the next step: raising revenue.
Throughout this entire debate, the Republican Party has defended tax breaks for companies making record profits, and advocated the cut and removal of programs crucial to the firefighters, teachers and students. We need to remove tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and take a balanced approach toward taxes that call on the wealthiest Americans and special interests to pay their share. Even President Ronald Reagan knew when to raise taxes; according to CBS News, he did so 11 times. We cannot expect to pay off the deficit without increasing government revenue and we certainly cannot ask our firefighters, teachers and the rest of the middle class to pay the taxes not paid by the wealthiest of Americans.
As College Democrats, we don't see a problem – we see solutions. In every challenge, there is an opportunity to move this country forward. The Republicans have chosen to "gamble our country's good name" as The Economist puts it, essentially holding our nation's economy hostage. Rather than be bold and serve their constituents, they are using our country's fate as a political tool. We need to make tough decisions and substantially reduce this deficit. That means cuts to spending, reforms to crucial social programs, raising revenue through the removal of tax loopholes and an increase in taxes for the wealthiest of Americans.
We find ourselves in an extraordinary dilemma. We have a weak economy and a massive deficit. But the College Democrats at UCF refuse to allow the middle class and the hardest-working Americans to carry the burden of this deficit. As a people, we must all make a shared sacrifice. Only then can we keep moving forward.