Rein in state spending
Congratulations New Jersey. Today, Sept. 14, is Cost of Government Day. What is Cost of Government Day you might ask? According to the Center for Fiscal Accountability, Cost of Government Day is based on the varying government burdens suffered in each state. Meaning that the average N.J. resident works 257 days a year to pay off federal and state government tax and spending burdens. Imagine that — before a N.J. resident takes any money home for personal use, whether for gas or groceries, they must work from Jan. 1 until today.
Yet this monstrous burden, the second largest in the nation only to Connecticut, has fallen under the radar for both President Barack Obama's administration and apparently The Daily Targum. An editorial by the paper last Monday, "Pay to Recover," supported an additional $50 billion in Obama stimulus toward "infrastructure" projects. The editorial unfortunately bites the common liberal bullet, that as long as government spending is transparent and appropriated directly toward the tasks the public deems acceptable, it will create jobs and stimulate the economy. Sorry guys, you're wrong.
What in your right mind makes you think that after billions of dollars spent on stimulus a mere $50 billion more will magically cure America's economic woes? It has not worked in the past, not only in the United States but also around the globe, and it won't happen now. Government spending, specifically on temporary projects, may appear to help the economy but in reality it will siphon out the only life remaining in our flailing nation.
Support for this project is asinine, short-sighted and counterproductive. These projects are exactly the reason why the U.S. federal debt hovers over $13 trillion. The way to get out of this mess, stimulate the economy and create a job boom is by cutting taxes and cutting government spending. Imagine telling an obese person the only way to lose weight is to eat more donuts. When the government spends money, it must tax its people more, which takes away more of their money and allows for less to be spent in the open market. In simplest terms, when people have more money they spend more, thus creating the need for more workers and more production.
College students consistently complain about the high cost of goods, schooling and services. Yet when faced with opportunities to cut these costs we laugh in the face of reality and travel back to Saturday morning cartoons and utopian fields of "Barney" and "Sesame Street." We want to spend as much as possible, while cutting costs and making school and services more efficient, and we want it free of charge, with high wage jobs waiting for us at graduation.
Students shouldn't be held solely responsible for faulty economic understanding though. I for one blame failed leadership, poor education systems and rampant disregard for common sense. Imagine if our school, state and country spent money the way we are told to spend money and actually stuck to a budget. Even the wealthiest people in the world cannot spend money on everything without going broke.
A little common sense could not hurt the progressives creating policy in Washington. A mere rollback of federal spending to 2008 levels would save close to a trillion dollars in the next year alone. That would of course force the Democrats to create a budget for fiscal year 2011. A FY that starts in a little over two weeks and still has no budget in sight. This though will not stop the Democrats from spending, and it will not stop the White House from an onslaught of deceptive ideas. In fact, the 257 days it took N.J. residents to pay off the government this year will most likely go up next year when, on Jan. 1, the largest tax increase in the history of the United States goes into effect.
As students, we have an opportunity to stop our government from generational theft and years of future debt. If we ever want the world to take us seriously we must take control of our government by demanding a halt to spending and a halt to taxation. We need to rein in debt and kick the compulsive spenders out of Washington. If we fail to do so we will only have ourselves to blame for permanent stagnation in job growth and the economy. The challenges that will arise for our generation are enormous; we face for the first time in the history of the United States a worse economy than our parents had and fewer opportunities.
Former President George W. Bush has been the scapegoat for all policy gone wrong for the first 20 months the Obama administration has controlled the White House. Yet the Democrats have controlled both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate since 2006 and it takes a fool to believe that any appropriation bill signed by the president didn't commence in Congress. The Democrats duped the American people in 2008 into believing that Republicans should be held solely responsible for unruly spending, when it was those same Democrats who appropriated more and more funds for social welfare programs and foreign wars. While the Bush White House and some Republicans signed onto the same measures, 2008 ushered in an era of extreme irrational spending behavior.
With President Bush long gone and continued spending through the roof, the American people have finally discovered the root of America's problems. Progressive, Keynesian, Liberal, Democrat originated policies. When the state takes control of our social and economic lives we have fewer freedoms to hold onto. Remember, November is coming, so stand up for your freedoms and your future and kick the Democrats out of Washington.
Aaron Marcus is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science with a minor in history. His column, "Marcus My Words," runs on alternate Tuesdays.