While a few
Members of Congress have raised the issue, it certainly was not
the primary concern of the House Budget Committee when they interviewed
Ben Bernanke on Monday. And, when they did direct this question
to the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, his answer was the standard
rhetoric about how Congress needed to make tough choices. Needless
to say, not many specifics were discussed.
One of the
most liberal members of the House, Barney Frank, has at least volunteered
something of a suggestion: “We can let Iraq take care of itself.”
This, of course, goes in the right direction, but hardly far enough.
We need to
declare the facts and their obvious consequences. The deficit of
the United States is now spiraling out of control, and the recent
bailout package has only made it worse. Our crushing federal debt
is one key reason behind our current economic turbulence.
begins to consider the third “stimulus package” of the
year, we need to realize it is time to start setting priorities.
Priority number one should be cutting spending in foreign countries.
This does not simply mean Iraq, but everywhere.
The next stimulus
package is likely to include money for infrastructure. While these
investments are, constitutionally speaking, supposed to be made
by state and local governments, it is not likely that Congress will
suddenly begin to pay heed to the document we are all sworn to uphold.
Still, we need to acknowledge the fact that the current Congress
and Administration are rushing the nation toward bankruptcy.
the case, we could hope they would at least come to their senses
regarding our debt and foreign spending sprees. Our nation’s
foreign-held debt is at record highs and moving ever higher. Continuing
to borrow money from Red China and others in order to pay “dues”
to the United Nations and run “Plan Colombia” makes no
sense at all.
Our whole carrot-and-stick
approach to foreign policy makes no sense. The US government simultaneously
gives money to Israel, and to Egypt. We send AIDS money to Africa
while AIDS clinics in America shut down. “Millennium challenge”
funding goes to countries which enact “market-based reforms”
as we push our own country further and further into a centrally
will only come through financial prudence, savings, and getting
back to producing things of value again. But it seems to be a foregone
conclusion that we are about to enact another government initiative
to “stimulate the economy.” Instead, there should be some
serious talk about cutting all of these foreign giveaway programs.
But, alas and again, we should not hold our breath. Congress is
still not close to being serious about ending its addiction to debt
and spending, and is again faced with the deadly temptation to attempt
to spend us out of a recession. We should not forget that in the
1930′s those types of efforts gave us the Great Depression.
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.