Mon, Aug. 19

Letter: Super-committee should have listened to GAO

As dumb as politicians think we are, they didn't really think we believed the congressional super-committee would cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit did they?

  It is often said that the Democrats are the party of corruption and the Republicans are the party of stupid. The Republicans proved the adage by agreeing to have the super-committee. The Dems never intended to agree to cuts but planned to blame it on the GOP. By demanding tax increases that they knew the Republicans could never agree to the Democrats and their fellow travelers, the liberal media, fell back on their class warfare defense.

  Could the committee have reasonably come up with $1.2 trillion in cuts over a period of 10 years without the need to raise taxes? Spread over 10 years, that only comes to $120 billion a year - not even enough to cover the interest payment on our debt. So convoluted are our politics that Congress isn't even talking about reducing our debt. They are only talking about slowing down the rate of increase. The committee had only to listen to the Government Accounting Office to fill their mandate. According to the GAO, the simple step of eliminating duplicate government agencies and their bureaucracies would result in savings of $210 billion per year - more over the long haul. That's $2.1 trillion over the decade, nearly twice the stated goal of the committee.

For example, our federal government has 47 job training programs costing $16 billion a year, all but three of which overlap. There are 87 programs working to improve teacher quality. And, ironically, there are 56 programs to teach Americans to become financially literate! The list goes on and on, as does the accompanying waste of tax dollars.

Unfortunately, the major credit rating agencies, such as Moody's and Standard and Poor, do not feel that even $2.1 trillion in cuts is enough to show our government is sincere about reducing runaway deficit spending. Chances are good that, when the committee fails - or even reaches the $1.2 trillion mark - our national credit rating will be lowered again. That means the interest rate our government will have to pay to borrow more money to continue our binge spending will increase.

Another irony, a one-point increase in that interest rate would cost our treasury an extra $100 billion a year. Hmmm. Let's see. Over a decade that comes to about ... $1 trillion.

Jim Barber

Camp Verde