Let’s Control Our Spending

November 5, 2008

November 5, 2008

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Wal-Mart Stores, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

With this election behind us and the global economic crisis as background, I have to ask, did we really learn anything? Is it going to be more of the same? Spend, spend, spend and watch the debt pile up.

What did we hear during the marathon campaign? House, Senate, and Presidential candidates all sang from the same song book. "Don't worry, Joe the plumber. I'll cut your taxes." "Ninety-five percent of you will get a tax cut. I'll get the money from that rich 5%." "Affordable health care is on the way."

You see, by promising to give away money, candidates are able to buy votes, but we can't afford it. We are living beyond our means now. The government can't and individuals can't. Look at the soaring government debt. Credit card debt is also a serious threat to our stability.

Maybe the candidates should have told us to "suck it up." "Tighten your belt."

Well, the time has come for the politicians to tell us straight out -"We need to raise the retirement age for Social Security to 70 years with an escalation clause." When President Roosevelt enacted Social Security, the life expectancy was 65 years. At that time, half the people didn't even live that long. That kept the cost down. Now, we live to 78 and the cost is increasing every year. Also, we need to put a lid on the escalating cost of Medicare and Medicaid. Universal health care is going to cost far more than is projected.

Andrew Yarrow, in his book "Forgive Us Our Debts," says that by 2030 if nothing is done to stop the runaway, automatic pilot programs, federal taxes will rise by 50%. 40% of our budget now is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

This economic crisis that the world is caught in should serve as a wake-up call to all politicians. President Obama should be firm and insist on:

Cutting unnecessary spending.

Getting control of entitlement programs.

Other countries carrying a bigger share of the military burden.

It takes courage to look the voters in the eye and speak the truth. We tell our children sometimes "no, we can't afford it." That's what the politicians should do.

Next week, I'll talk about what President Barak Obama could mean for agriculture.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.