On the front page of the Aiken Standard on Saturday, there were two news articles that focused on the impact of sequestration and the potential resulting spending cuts. Both articles captured the difficulty of pursuing spending cuts in areas of nuclear weapons clean up and early childhood education. Both of these programs are very important, and I hope that the country’s legislators can find a way to avoid the cuts.
If we listen to the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, the constant refrain that we hear is that the country does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. That is a simplistic statement, and whenever there is an effort to try to cut spending, one can be assured that there will be a constituent group that will object to the spending cuts. Therein lies the problem. Where to make the cuts?
Should the country cut defense spending? No, that would impact too many congressional districts that have defense industries in those districts. At least that is the unstated reason for the opposition. Should the country continue to deny that there are bridges, sewer systems, and roads that need repair? That is what is being done now, but that posture cannot be sustained. Remember the bridge that collapsed in Minnesota in 2007? So, where does the country go to pursue spending cuts? Following the lead of the Republican Party, the cuts should be made in entitlement programs. Their advice is to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and all of the country’s spending problems will be solved. From their perspective, it does not matter how many elderly and poor people will be impacted. That is a shame and we as a country should not allow it.