Why can’t Washington balance the federal budget and reduce the $16 trillion public debt?
There is really no way to calculate all the different answers offered as excuses for this question. But when you sweep aside the political chatter designed to excite the press and scare the public, some other questions arise.
Does Washington really want to balance the federal budget and cut the debt?
Do politicians have more to gain by not balancing the budget?
It has been suggested that bringing federal spending in line with revenues would cause elected officials much greater pain than the current deficit mess. And actually balancing the budget would, of course, force them to make some very tough decisions.
Since the word “no” is rarely expressed during discussions of federal spending, perhaps the idea of government operating within its means—like small-business owners must–has become outdated idea in the nation’s capital. After all, when you’re spending money that isn’t coming out of your pocket, why worry about how much is going where?
Balancing the budget might also greatly reduce politicians’ opportunities for nationally televised press conferences and appearances on Sunday morning talk shows, not to mention limiting occasions to press the flesh with Hollywood stars, wealthy campaign contributors and special-interest advocates of no-limits spending.
Those who manufacture phony events, such as fiscal cliffs and pseudo-sequesters, should give serious thought to adopting a longer term view that extends past their terms of office. Simple mathematics dictates that no matter how many times the Can of Public Debt gets kicked down the road, sooner or later it’s going to kick back.
Ask any Main Street business owner about financial can-kicking. They’ll quickly tell you that such an unwise tactic is a sure way to wipe out the American Dream of owning and operating a small business. Plus, it causes unintended consequences such as killing jobs, endangering families and siphoning unexpected revenues out of the Treasury.
Small-business owners, unlike professional policymakers, understand simple math. They don’t spend their days talking to TV cameras or posturing for registered voters. They work hard, pay their bills and face customers who also know the importance of living within a budget.
That’s why successful small-business owners are determined to give customers quality, service and value. They understand the model: No customers, no money. No money, no small business.
Employees of small businesses also understand: No small businesses, no jobs.
The National Federation of Independent Business isn’t waiting for prime time. The nation’s largest small-business organization has launched a “Balance the Budget” petition drive in hopes of forcing Congress to adopt a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Only when Washington adopts the small-business operations model of fiscal responsibility will government spending reverse its destructive march towards bankruptcy. We just hope there’s still time to hit the brakes.