Don't believe pandering politicians

Americans need to quit falling for pandering politicians and admit they really do need to pay for what they get from government.

The United States is spiraling downward into trillions of dollars of debt, yet all one hears from candidates in the Nov. 4 election is how they'll give everyone a tax cut and how horrible their opponents are for even thinking about raising taxes. The worst of them have to be presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain and U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith and his opponent Jeff Merkley.

Some candidates on the local level, too, say voters don't have to pay any more for law enforcement or anything else, even though Josephine County stands to gradually lose $12 million annually in federal money the next four years.

The fact is, Americans have become addicted to something for nothing in their own lives as well as in their government. That's a big reason the U.S. economy is in shambles. An article in the Oct. 20 Newsweek magazine documented the making of the mess.

At home, it noted, household debt has soared, from $680 billion in 1974 to $14 trillion today. On Wall Street, financial "wizards" invented innovative products, such as credit default swaps. These enriched them, the article stated, but added no value to what this country produces and left the system vulnerable, like a house of cards.

In Washington, D.C., the national debt has shot up from $3 trillion in 1990 to $10.2 trillion today. Add in the unfunded liabilities for Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare and similar programs and that debt is a whopping $59.1 trillion, or $516,348 per household.

This year has been a glaring example of deficit spending with no concrete plans for repayment. Apparently, everyone just plans to leave the bills for their children, grandchildren, etc.

There was the $168 billion stimulus package, the $700 billion economic bailout, the $85 billion bailout for American International Group, the record annual budget deficit of $455 billion and the $100 billion or so for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (not included in the budget). And the freebies may roll on, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was before Congress Monday singing the praises of yet another stimulus program, which is being pushed by the Democrats in Congress.

One would think at some point, Americans with any sense of economics and pride in themselves and country would demand we get off this deficit binge and quit selling ourselves to China and the Middle East. That they would demand their politicians give them the bad news and propose ways they can gradually get out of this deep hole.

But, hey, a tax cut and stimulus check sure sound great!

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