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It's time to make the hard choices

Published April 09. 2011 09:00AM

In the past week, we the people have been bombarded with a drivel of budgetary rhetoric. The clowns we elected have had a year to create and approve the 2011 budget. As I write this, we do not have a budget. We are facing an overblown government shutdown and our politicians are paralyzed by indecision. These politicians have learned to wordsmith their positions to overstate the negative impact of a government shutdown. In my opinion, the government is not really going to shut down. All essential services will continue as every department has a contingency plan. Your pension checks will go out, but your tax refund may not. The military will still be engaged in three wars, our bombs will continue to be dropped and our missiles will continue to be fired. Our national parks will be closed and some services will be curtailed.

Our indecisive Congress and spineless President will continue to spend more money than we have. The Treasury Secretary says we face a financial crisis worse than the last one if we do not increase the debt ceiling. Yet if we increase the ceiling, surely our elected representatives will spend like children in an amusement park until they push our borrowings to the new debt limit. Now is the time to tackle our problems and not push them down the road a few weeks or months. Congressional waffling is endangering this country as no foreign power ever could. Our leaders lack leadership, our decision-makers cannot make decisions and our country wallows in debt as a result.

The Federal Reserve and our government have devalued the dollar. The cost of oil has not gone up, the dollar has gone down. This hurts us in ways that our Congressman do not to discuss with their constituents. When the price of food and fuel is included in the inflation calculation, inflation has gone up 20 percent or more in the last year. For those of us in retirement, these rising costs have eroded the purchasing power of our savings. In the last few months I have watched gasoline go from $2.50 a gallon to $3.65 a gallon. This is a 46 percent increase in price. Inflation has destroyed the savings of millions of retired folks who worked hard, saved their nickels and pennies and invested for their old age. Now their financial future is uncertain and they are forced to rely upon Social Security.

As for food, my purchases at the farmers market have gone from 75 percent even though I am buying many of the same things. Some vegetables have increased so much that I have substituted other items. When my children were small and money was tight I would go to the market an hour or so before closing on Saturday and take advantage of the discounts. On occasion, I now find myself doing this again on Saturday afternoons. It is a good way to take the inflationary sting out of shopping for fresh meat, baked goods and perishable vegetables.

Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) stated that people would die because of the Republican budget cuts. This is fear mongering at its worst! Budget cuts are necessary to stop frivolous political spending designed to reelect our existing politicians. People will die each and every day whether or not we have budget cuts or spending increases. Government bureaucracy kills more people than a budget cut ever will. This type of foolish rhetoric only complicates the issues.

So what is my solution to all of this? Let's force the government to live within its means! They cannot spend more than they collect in taxes. They must stop raising the debt limit. The Federal Reserve should stop quantitative easing which feeds the inflation monster. There is no need to expand the money supply and further increase inflation. Here are a few more ideas that will help us weather these difficult times:

American corporations have over $1 trillion in overseas banks because the money will be confiscated by excessive taxation if they return these funds to America. I say, give them a tax holiday for one year. The money can be repatriated and used to expand factories, and other facilities and create jobs here in the United States. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan disrupted the supply chain for American factories, shutting some of them down. It is time to protect their supply chain by manufacturing all critical components here in the United States. As it now stands, if China embargoes shipments to the United States our economy will fail and we will not be unable to obtain the goods we need. Circuit boards, automobiles, aircraft, video monitors, cell phones, and computers and their components need to be built in American factories, from parts made in America.

We need to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency if we want to reopen our factories. Since the Obama administration likes to grant waivers so his friends can avoid the perils of Obamacare, lets grant a few EPA waivers to open shuttered factories and put our people back to work. We could certainly use a few more petroleum refineries to increase the supply of fuel. While we are at it, lets drill here to exploit our own oil and gas. Lets build pipelines to bring the new oil and gas to the refineries and the finished products to the consumers. Drilling, building refineries and constructing a network of pipelines will create thousands of jobs. Currently we spend over $1.1 billion per day importing foreign oil at current market prices. If we used our own oil, we would reduce our imports by $400 billion a year. This would support the American economy and job creation and reduce our dependence on dictators, unstable regimes and governments that support Arabian terrorists.

Unemployment insurance currently provides up to three years of benefits for those who lost their jobs. For many people the unemployment paycheck is more than they can now earn. While my heart goes out to those who are between positions, 26 weeks of benefits are enough. Our nation cannot afford to pay people not to work (or subsidize farmers not to grow crops). Let's encourage people to start their own business, change professions or take other jobs in their community.

Finally, let's bring our troops home now. We have no American interests in Afghanistan or Libya. We no longer need to keep 47,000 troops in Iraq now that the "war is over". The President promised to bring them home if elected. Now it is time to hold him to that promise. Also, let us close over 550 military bases in other countries. With our navel and air superiority, we can move troops anywhere in the world within 24 hours if required. We can close foreign bases and open job creating bases here in the United States

The politicians need to stop the banter, rhetoric and nay saying and get to work on our nation's business. This is not the time for taking sides along party lines. We need our elected representatives to work together to solve our country's problems. Snappy sound bites, threats of government shutdown and playing the blame game do nothing for the American people. Our congressmen and women need to buckle down, work hard and make the decisions needed to restore prosperity to the American people and rebuild our shattered economy.

If you are interested in preparing for difficult times, I will be presenting my presentation "Save Yourself, Save Your Family, Be Prepared" Monday April 11 to the Lehighton 9/12 project. It will be held at 7 p.m. at the Mahoning Valley Ambulance Bldg, 902 Mill Road in Lehighton. I look forward to seeing you there. (

© 2011 Gordon Smith All Rights Reserved

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