OUR OPINION: DEFICITS
Talk about political poison. What self-respecting U.S. representative or senator would support a plan that would potentially do away with the home mortgage deduction, cut military spending, raise the Social Security retirement age and cut Medicare?
The answer to that question, in our view, is a darn good one.
The recommendations of President Barack Obama's deficit commission truly contain something for everyone to hate. But we would ask critics of the plan how they propose to rein in the burgeoning federal deficit. It can't be done without pain and that pain must be shared by everyone if there is going to be an equitable solution.
The plan needs backing from 14 of its 18 members in order to be officially conveyed to Congress, but even the if the measure falls short of that mark it is serving a worthwhile purpose. Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., a panel member, correctly described the deficit reduction package as a template that gives people an opportunity to start discussing what we have to do to get our fiscal house in order. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who serves on the committee, said there are items in the package that he dislikes intensely, but, seeing no alternative, he will support it strongly.
Isn't that the way it is with most difficult decisions? Aren't our choices in life often unpalatable ones that must be accepted with a degree of regret?
What we like about the deficit commission's work is that the members seem unafraid to consider slashing sacred cows. Everything is on the table.
Perhaps what drives their determination is the knowledge that if the federal government doesn't make hard choices now it will be incredibly difficult and incredibly expensive when it is finally forced to do so, years from now.
Congress should listen carefully to this group's findings and put the country's future ahead of their own political calculations.