We must restore fiscal sanity

Congress owes us a simple and logical plan to stop the insanity of ever-increasing debt without spending restraints.

We didn’t drop off the fiscal cliff in January, but we’ve been on a very slippery slope to insolvency for over a decade. With another debt limit debate looming we hear politicians use sound-bytes such as “we’re not a dead-beat nation” or “like eating at a restaurant and walking out without paying the bill.”

Nonsense. Both parties, but especially Democrats since the 2008 election, have been spending our money irresponsibly without even so much as a budget. It’s like having extreme credit card debt – deciding to get another credit card to pay down the first one – then ignoring the limit of the card and buying more stuff.

In my opinion, to stop this death spiral, Congress must permanently cap the debt limit (perhaps even raising it realistically from the current level to allow reaction/adjustment time). That same legislation must however require debt limit reductions by fixed percentages at regular intervals.

The debt limit now is about $16 trillion and if congress agrees to a level of $17 trillion in March 2013, it should also be decreased legislatively (for example) 1 percent each month. With 1 percent monthly reduction, by March 2014 the limit would be back to $15 trillion. Younger folks might see it under $1 trillion by summer of 2036. While the rate of reductions and intervals can be negotiated by congress, the principle should not.

First, eliminate waste and redundancy, and then halt automatic increases in spending.

Finally, use the same budgeting logic that states, businesses, and families must use.

Ultimately, a balanced budget amendment is required, but by legislating mandatory periodic reductions in the debt, fiscal responsibility will necessarily follow. If you agree, call your Congressman.

Richard Eichler