Time to compromise

Time to compromise

U.S. Treasury Department

The national debt has been rising by the trillions for decades.

The United States has more debt than it has ever had before. Currently, the national public debt is around $16.4 trillion. Divide that by the number of citizens in this country, and that accounts to a little more than $52,000 per person. The debt raises $3.9 billion per day. So how does the US government fix this?

Congress (with the Republican House and Democratic Senate) and freshly re-elected President Barack Obama are currently trying to agree on a way to fix it. Agreement is essential as both parties have the power to block any legislation that they don’t like.

As they have been for many years, the Republicans argue for lower taxes and government spending cuts. The Democrats argue for the opposite.

The Obama administration proposed a plan that promised increase taxes over the next 10 years by $1.4 trillion (revenue), and raise $50 billion for stimulus spending. It would also cut spending by over $400 billion. Speaker of the House John Boehner swiftly rejected it (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly laughed when it was presented).

The GOP then released their plan, which promised to reduce the deficit by $2.2 trillion and raise taxes by $800 billion (much lower than the $1.4 trillion proposed by the Democrats). The White House promptly declined.

As a Republican, I do not like the idea of raising taxes or spending more. But with only two weeks to solve this problem,* the Republicans and Democrats must be lenient in their political beliefs to solve this problem and avoid going off the fiscal cliff. It is not ideal for the Republican party to raise taxes or for the Democratic party to cut spending, but it must be done.

Republican economist Ben Stein agrees that taxes must be raised and spending must be cut to achieve fiscal sensibility when he said, “The whole idea of being Republican is fiscal sensibility, and fiscal sensibility says that we cannot run a $16 trillion debt and we cannot leave our grandchildren a defaulted, bankrupted America. So where do we get the money? We can cut government spending (and we must) but we have a lot of rich people in this country that have a lot of money that aren’t taxed enough.”

Stein claims that, “I don’t think that it’s going to hurt us at all compared to running these huge deficits.”

*Automatic tax change happens on the first day of 2013 if nothing is passed. This article explains them.