RON HART: Let’s get fiscal: Bungee off the cliff

Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 04:32 PM.

In the Democratic vernacular, taxes have changed to “revenues.” Long ago they replaced the word "spending" with “investments,” especially when wasting money on Solyndra and the like. They think we are stupid.

When Clinton so famously “balanced the budget” with the Internet boom and all the taxes from those stock sales, the GOP and Newt Gingrich passed a budget (yes, Congress used to do that) of $1.7 trillion in expenditures. Adjusted for inflation, our federal government would be spending $2.3 trillion today and collecting $2.5 trillion in “revenues,” resulting in a $200 billion surplus. But instead of increasing government spending in line with normal inflation, under Bush and Obama we are spending $3.8 trillion today. Democrats, who believe we have a “revenue” instead of a “spending” problem, must also think they have a bartender, not a drinking, problem.

Those Republican neo-cons who have never seen a country they do not want to bomb because it looked at us wrong, have to give on defense. We spend $1.19 trillion a year on defense — more than the other top ten countries combined and more than six times what second place China spends.

We have more generals than we had during World War II, and they have plenty of time on their hands to chase women. The sex triangle of Generals Petraeus and Allen might turn into a sex Pentagon.

As General Eisenhower warned us about the “military industrial complex," it will grow and spend as long as you fund it. When you have a hammer, you are always looking for a nail, thus all these wars and conflicts overseas. Noble men and women serve in our military, so we always want to support the troops. But we have to rethink supporting demands of military generals whose power is based on their budgets and on making wars.

The D.C. spending precept remains: if you don’t spend all your budget this year, it gets cut next year.

In short, the “fiscal cliff” will play out like most political events. Politicians will do what they do best: kick the can down the road. They will probably let us go off the “fiscal cliff” so they can magnanimously “save us” from what they created. It will be more like a fiscal Bungee jump, with some mishmash of agreements that preserve their jobs and sweep government growth under the table.

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