Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Fiscal sanity in D.C. remains elusive

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Too much debt always catches up with a family, a business or a government.

That’s why Moody’s Investors Service last week flipped its ratings for the U.S. government from “stable” to “negative.” It found the “downside risks to the U.S. fiscal strength have increased” as the national debt has soared to nearly $34 trillion.

However, Moody’s maintained its A rating, its highest. That means a minimum credit risk from the country’s “exceptional economic strength.” Yet interest payments will rise from 9.7% of the federal budget in 2022 to 26% by 2033.

It’s another signal Congress needs to get its act together and start cutting or at least holding flat spending. Failure to do so will mean bigger cuts will be needed in the future, plus tax increases. Yet last month the U.S. Treasury Department calculated the yearly budget deficit effectively doubled in 2023, to $1.7 trillion.

Didn’t Republicans promise they would cut the deficit if they took over the U.S. House of Representatives?

And let’s not forget that in four years President Trump boosted the deficit by $7.8 trillion. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, on Trump’s watch, the federal government was already anticipating annual deficits of over $1 trillion per year through the decade.

Which means the possible choice next year, of Trump vs. Biden, is unlikely to offer any fiscal sanity. But the longer action is delayed, the more draconian will be the inevitable cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other programs.

“What bugs me about this is not so much that I don’t expect to get Social Security, but that I’m going to continue to be taxed for it,” Eric Boehm told us. Age 36, he has written on the debt crisis for the Los Angeles-based Reason Foundation. “And I’ve already been taxed for 20 years of work.” He said he should be trusted with investing his own money every month in a retirement plan, which he does, rather than trusting the government.

We agree. Unfortunately, the last attempt to transition Social Security to a private system was in 2005 by President George W. Bush. It quickly was shot down by Democrats.

We urge our California U.S. House members to cut, cut, cut. And we encourage young people to follow Boehm and start saving on their own.

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