ATLANTA (UPI) -- "Once you're in a hole, stop digging," goes the old saying. The United States keeps getting further and further in a fiscal hole due to the stifling effects of the 9-million-word tax code mess, the impending insolvency of the Social Security system, and the ever-growing budget deficit, but congressional leaders won't stop digging.
In the weeks leading up to April 15th of each year we start agonizing and complaining about collecting all the paperwork to file our tax returns, getting a firm to put it all together; we hope there are no errors so we stay out of jail, and then get stressed out over the amount we ultimately have to pay.
After tax returns are filed -- and the psychological pain stops -- filers are left with a sense of unfairness and we awe at the insanity of the code and the process. Then we get mad and prepare for it all over again next year.
We have known for decades that the Social Security structure is broken. In just 13 years the system will be insolvent as it will have to pay out more in revenues than it will receive in payroll taxes. President Bush and some congressional Republicans are addressing the certain bankruptcy but congressional Democrats and liberal special interest groups are fighting them every step of the way.
Instead of addressing the system's impending fiscal insolvency, leaders on the left want to wage a war of semantics over use of the terms "crisis" and "personal accounts." History shows us that the left will shirk responsibility by simply proposing to cut your benefits and raise your taxes.
When we elected a Republican president and a Republican majority in Congress, we thought the runaway spending spree of our money would stop. The excess spending did not stop, and it's not all associated with the war in Iraq. Mandatory entitlement spending alone currently accounts for over half of the federal budget. By the year 2015, mandatory entitlement spending will account for over 60 percent of budget outlays. The persistent overspending has caused the United States to become a net debtor nation instead of the strong net lending nation we once were.
The problems associated with the income tax code, Social Security and runaway spending are not all the problems or issues we face, but they are our biggest problems. Real solutions have been put on the table, but a surplus of status quo thinking by congressional Democrats, and a deficit of action by some congressional Republicans, is digging our fiscal hole deeper.
Herman Cain is the National Chairman of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute. He is the former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Inc., and currently is CEO and president of T.H.E. New Voice, Inc., a business and leadership consulting company.
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