Obama's Deficit Commission: What's the point?
The Commission was created because Congress has proven itself incapable of reining in profligate spending, borrowing and vote buying. It has proven itself over and over again unable to exercise any self-restraint when it comes to spending. Need we be reminded of Speaker Pelosi's $60,000 charge for fresh flowers for her office? Or her need for what appears to be an Air Force 3 to fly her, her staff members and family to San Francisco on the tax-payer's nickel?
These are hardly the acts of either a single individual or a group of individuals who recognize that they have a fiduciary responsibility to wisely husband the financial resources that we have entrusted to them.
So twelve current members of Congress are going to make a special effort to rein in spending, and raise taxes to the point that we generate a surplus to reduce the unconscionable and unsustainable levels of our national debt.
One has to ask: Isn't that already their day job?
The biggest fear that we should have regarding this deficit commission is that they will be chock full of ideas as to how taxes should be raised, but only come up with politically unpalatable recommendations for spending reductions. Not unpalatable to the average man or woman in the street, but to members of the political class who depend on governmental largesse to retain their position, and their power.
Give any politician a new revenue stream and it will never be used to reduce the debt. As always it will fund new "initiatives", "programs" or another variant of "stimulus", rather than for its intended use.
Regardless of how lofty the stated goals, no matter how many promises are made that Congress and the White House are going to get serious about fiscal responsibility, the only people who might conceivably believe what they hear are also likely to believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Great Pumpkin. After all, as de Tocqueville said nearly 200 years ago:
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
Perhaps the term "entitlements" should have a dictionary entry that reads: see also, bribes, corruption, fraud, and perjury.
President Obama is undoubtedly hoping that his bi-partisan deficit commission will recommend massive tax hikes to provide political cover so he and his Congressional allies will continue to be able to freely plunder even more of the money earned by our productive citizens in order to spread the wealth to those unproductive citizens, illegal aliens and community organizations who support his agenda.
For once, his "hope" will actually come to true. His hope, our nightmare. We can absolutely rely on the deficit commission to recommend massive tax increases. They may ritually genuflect in the direction of fiscal sobriety and simultaneously recommend a few cosmetic spending reductions, but within a matter of weeks we can be assured of new subsidies for "green" projects to be launched and the deficit, we will be assured, will be just fine, thank you.
Once again, we have a government that views its citizens with contempt. And no deficit commission is going to change that. Only the November mid-term election can begin to steer the ship of state in a different direction, away from the cataracts of bankruptcy.
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller, Vietnam veteran and libertarian (small "l"). He can be contacted at email@example.com