On the RDT (Republican Dream Team) Facebook page we have been discussing the national debt. Poster Mark Klonfas reminds us about the “investments” that we have made as a country that have “over time” become part of what I’m choosing to call the USA “brand.” We are liberty-loving people who are free to aspire and innovate. We have as a people been this way from the writing of our constitution through sending the first man to the moon (see Mark’s post on RDT Facebook for his expanded list of US innovations). He rightly states that we cannot continue this trajectory of a proud country that is the “light on the hill” for aspirational countries everywhere on “the cheap”.
Unfortunately we have been “asleep at the wheel” and our country is now off of the road, down in the weeds and seriously in debt. We no longer own our country – those who hold our debt own us. I don’t know about you but I don’t like being in that position personally or as a citizen of this great country. So how DO we “turn around” and get ourselves back on the road again? Unfortunately there are no “magic” solutions. We must get back on the road again the same way we do when our family budgets get “out of whack” . . . one painful step at a time. To begin that journey back to solvency we need to set our priorities on how we spend our money.
One of the posters on the RDT Blog suggested that we think about primary budget areas as “boxes”. These boxes are what the federal government must do. After the “boxes” are identified we fill them with the components of the key functions within the category of the box. However, in order to balance the budget, the “boxes” are not bottomless. Even in an area identified as an appropriate major function of the federal government, we need to identify how large the box should be and prioritize the items in each identified box. When an appropriate pay down of the debt is made, the remaining money is allocated to the prioritized expenditures in the identified boxes.
I was a guest on the Charles Butler Radio show on February 10. I asked Charles, what are the top “boxes” the federal government should be funding? Charles said his top boxes would be the “the economy, “good trade deals” and “fix illegal/unwanted immigration”. By unwanted immigration Charles was referring to people who do not have skills that benefit our economy and/or those who ideologically don’t support the values stated in our constitution. I asked him if “national defense” was one of the boxes. He said “of course”. National Defense is just a “given” since it is the one function of the national government that was a founding reason to form our federal government in the first place.
Are national defense, the economy, good trade deals and illegal immigration the right boxes? Are “good trade deals” parts of our “economy” box? I’m noting that Charles did not mention Social Programs as one of the four boxes. Social Programs are “inconvenient” to talk about when you want to bring down the federal debt. The Republican Dream Team of 2016 compiles in one place how the original seventeen republican candidates for president propose to maintain these social programs and bring down the costs associated with them.
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