State of the Union Should Have Dealt More with the Debt, Deficit

Published Jan 31, 2014.

ENID, Okla. — After President Obama presented his fifth State of the Union speech, Republicans rejected the rhetoric while Democrats searched for specifics.It’s no surprise that Elephants and Donkeys are notoriously divided in the Beltway.Since we’re talking party animals, the biggest “elephant” in the room (excuse the cliché) was the massive national debt, which wasn’t even mentioned. And future reduction of the deficit wasn’t discussed, either.Yes, Obama did make a passing reference to the deficit, claiming it had been cut by more than half. But we’re disappointed the speech didn’t deal more with budget deficits and the mounting national debt.“The president must realize the federal government has a spending problem, and he must work with Congress to make significant cuts to help address the U.S. debt crisis,” said U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne.Our 3rd Congressional District representative is exactly right. The mentality that we can spend our way into prosperity needs to change.Politico reports the $17 trillion debt won’t soon disappear. Higher health care costs coupled with an aging population will cause the future deficit to balloon.“Neither party wants to talk about it,” Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told Politico.As the Congressional Budget Office points out, long-term debt will adversely affect both the federal budget and the entire economy.The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization advocating generationally responsible fiscal policy, rightly claims that unrealistic politicians have delusion plans for deep cuts only in “discretionary” spending. A sustainable course requires much more belt-tightening in the present.Deal with the debt. Either this generation or our children and grandchildren will end up paying for it.