Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Last week, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed cited the need to use hard and soft politics in governing the city. "We are making hard decisions again and again that allow us to show compassion," the Democrat told a luncheon held by the Atlanta Press Club. "Because you can't help other people if you're broke yourself."

The Republican congressional leadership might consider the use of hard and soft politics.

Currently, they are tagged as playing hard politics (making tough decisions that are not pleasant), while President Obama is practicing soft politics. He wants to overspend today, to be compassionate.

We all want to be compassionate. The question is, which path is sustainable? Reed is right; you can't help others if you are broke.

The U.S. government needs to get its fiscal house in order. This is the core of the ongoing argument between congressional Republicans and Obama and the Democratic Party.

Obama and the Democratic Party are winning the media war over the government budget by using rhetoric to obscure facts. They appear cheerful and compassionate, while painting the Republicans as mean-spirited grumblers. For example, last Monday, Obama told reporters at the White House, "Over the past two years, I've signed into law about $1.4 trillion in spending cuts."

This might lead one to believe that government spending has gone down. Let's look at the numbers. The year before Obama took office, the federal government spent $3 trillion. During the first year of his administration, it spent $3.5 trillion. Last year, it spent $3.6 trillion. This year, it is on pace to spend $3.8 trillion.

Obama's 2013 budget request contains $3.8 trillion in spending.

That request represents a 28 percent increase in spending from what it was in 2008.

Fact one: We are spending more than we did last year and a great deal more than we did during the year before Obama took office.

Fact two: We are spending more than we take in every year, leading to a higher and higher debt. The total federal debt when Obama took office (the total amount of cumulative deficits and surpluses) was $10.6 trillion. Divided by the U.S. population, that's $35,000 of debt for every man, woman and child. At the end of last year, our debt had increased to $14.8 trillion, equating to $52,000 per man, woman and child. Obama's proposed budget for 2013 would lead to federal debt of $55,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.