In other words, if Congress and the Administration are not able to do something about the long-term costs of these programs, a minor cut in the deficit today won’t matter at all when our children are paying our debts in the future. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, who has introduced legislation (the Stop Overspending Act of 2006) to rein in the unchecked expansion of these programs, in a Senate floor speech described what will happen if these problems go unaddressed.
“Basically, it would mean our children would be unable to afford a better lifestyle,” said Gregg. “They probably could not send their kids to college, buy a house or purchase a car the way our generation has been able to do because they would be sending so much of their money to the Federal Government … It is not a tolerable proposal for our country. We cannot say, as one generation, that we are going to put on the books obligations that make the next generation pay so much in taxes that they essentially would not be able to live the quality of life we have. We would undermine their quality of life, and it is not fair to them.”
Gregg’s argument is more than just economical: it is moral. So while it is good to see that tax cuts are working (by providing increased revenues), it is shortsighted to claim victory when it comes to the long-term vitality of our economy. Unless the administration and Congress – Republicans and Democrats alike – can get serious about this looming disaster, press conferences touting a shrinking deficit will be half right and half wrong.
Unfortunately, future generations cannot afford for us to get it half wrong.
Tim Chapman is the Director of the Center for Media and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. and a contributing columnist to Townhall.com
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