Robert Bennett: Something worse than the fiscal cliff — mountain of debt

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  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 7:44 p.m.

    Ex-Senator Bennett is saying the right things now.

    Unfortunately, he voted for the wrong things during his time in the Senate, and bears a lot of responsibility for our current sorry situation.

    We must stop increasing the debt limit every time it comes up. We must stop giving raises and increasing benefits and eligibility for give away programs. We must make HARD choices on spending and balance the budget (including passing, one Hairy Reid!) not just pass an amendment saying we should (Senator Hatch!). We must refuse to grant unanimous consent to do things which allow spending more than we have, or even any other business until we get spending under control.

    Spending is the problem, and the one that politicians of both parties lack the guts or intelligence to confront.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 9:54 a.m.

    Large sovereign debt is good. It means we owe all of our disposable income to the government for debt service. That's called "your fair share." When the government takes all and provides all it is called socialism. It works just fine in Greece, Spain and Portugal. Don't worry, be happy.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 6:52 p.m.

    re:Mike in Cedar City

    One BIG problem with your logic Mike - those evil rich that don't pay enough taxes are the same folks that build the small - large business's where we (the middle class) work. Yes those rich folks are the ones that take the risks and provide the capital for business investment. The first company I worked for (Novell) was founded by a mulch-millionaire named Ray Noorda and it was because of Ray that thousands of Utah families were able to work at high paying jobs and buy homes and help build a financial success story for the people of Utah. Had Ray been taxed to death (as is the Obama way) there would have been NO Novell period. I have a son-in-law that owns a small furniture company and with these new tax increases he is going to have lay off employees and change some of the remaining employees to part time status. This is WHY you don't tax the rich to death because in the end it is the middle class that are killed. Understand???

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    Entitlement spending is over 50% of the budget.
    Within the next twenty years it will be over 3/4 of the federal budget.
    There is no surplus, it was spent.
    we either: reduce benefits, raise taxes, end the program.
    We cannot keep going on like we are.
    Everyone knows it is bankrupt; no one is willing to do anything about it.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:28 p.m.

    My point was that Obama supporters like to bring up the unfunded wars as a reason we are in this financial mess. But what about the unfunded entitlement programs?

    Entitlement spending, current and future, are the biggest source of the budget. Shouldn't we start reworking those programs?

    Doesn't it seem like hypocrisy for Obama supporters to denounce unfunded wars but not hold Obama accountable for unfunded entitlement spending?

    These entitlement programs are the creation and fault of everyone: Democrats, Republicans, and the American voters. But the problem lies before us now to solve. Obama occupies the White House and as president should lead out to restructure entitlement spending. Congress should work with the president on this.

    Instead, we have a Republican Congress that has publicly stated support for more revenue (the same $800 Billion Obama called for during the campaign) while also supporting entitlement reform. Obama wants double the revenue of his campaign promises and won't address specific entitlement reform proposals.

    In my mind the president is obstructing true progress on this fiscal cliff.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 11:57 a.m.


    I don't know how he'd respond to 9-11, but I do know he wouldn't have gone to war in Iraq and blown a trillion dollars and the lives of several thousand Americans there.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:45 a.m.

    In the short term we need spending to create jobs. In the long term, end the budget deficit and begin to cut into the national debt. The simple truth is thet the wealthy need to do their part. Many have inequitably benefited for years from the Bush Tax Cuts and investments in a war based economy. They must assist in getting our fiscal house in order otherwise this will look like a debt put entirely on that backs of the elderly and the poor.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 8:54 a.m.

    how do you ever pay back 16 trillion? Impossible. How do you pay back the projected 20 trillion after 4 more years of Obama spending? You do the math. My take on this is that the American people - even many of those that do understand and pay attention - don't really understand the significance of this debt. The typical Obama voter has zero understanding or concern about the debt. The American people are very short sighted and most don't really catch the significance about something until it actually hits them personally and by then it is usually too late as we saw with the housing bubble and loan disaster of 2008. If you asked the average American what bad things could happen to them as a result of this giant debt the vast majority would have no clue and as a result they don't really care. It's just a number. A BIG number. When interest rates start to sky rocket and business's start closing down then it will hit home. When the average car payment doubles then it will open some eyes. When the entitlement gravy bowl dries up then the panic sets in. Until then no big deal.

    Dec. 11, 2012 8:54 a.m.

    @ David:

    I have to agree with the one old man. And now here's a question to you how many Al-Qaida leader's did your boy remove when he was in office? I allso think he would have done all right when the towers were hit.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 8:09 a.m.

    David, I don't know how Obama would have reacted had he been in office when the towers were hit. But I do believe his response would have been much smarter than the way President Cheney and his little buddy reacted. At least, we'd have been saved from the war in Iraq. And we wouldn't have had the lies that led us there.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 11:45 p.m.

    I am curious to know how Obama would have responded when al-Qaida struck the Twin Towers. Would he have led the country to battle the terrorists? Would this not have cost huge sums of money? Would the Taliban still be harboring al-Qaida if US military was not sent to Afghanistan?

    The debt is bigger than the two unfunded wars. The current debt, and future debt, is mostly due to unfunded entitlement spending and the interest on our debt. I believe that by 2030 entitlement spending and debt interest will require 100% of our budget.

    The wars are winding down, thankfully. Hopefully there will be peace in the world.

    But the entitlement spending must be addressed by mature leaders.

    I trust Republicans to address this issue much more than I trust Democrats. The GOP has presented plans to attack the deficit spending while the Democrats have presented class warfare to win elections. Obama and Democrats won't present specifics on spending cuts while insisting on tax increases that will only fund the government for 10 days. It will raise $80 billion while the government goes $1 Trillion further into debt.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 5:52 p.m.

    I love the geographic associations. Mountain of Debt, Fiscal Cliff. How about a Drumlin of Defecit, or an plateau of overspending? An alluvial fan of taxation, maybe? How about a plain of interest? So many possibilities.

  • awsomeron1 Oahu, HI
    Dec. 10, 2012 4:34 p.m.

    Debt has to do with failure to balance the Budget. To Balance the Budget you have to cut things. If you cut things people get mad and won't vote for you. We should first cut the UN to Zero. Next cut paying for Abortions in Foreign Country. Cut all funding to Planned Parenthood. Cut Food Stamps and make Food Stamps good for only Select Foods not everything in the store and the Deli. Cut Welfare and Stop Section 8 unless people agree to go to School, Trade School or Work. I do not mean the legit disabled so don't get on you high horse. Get Mrs Obama out of School Lunches. Fund School Lunches and BK with Food Kids will eat.Fund Remedial Education from Grade 1. Fund at least 20% more school days. Cut spending to Hamas and Egypt and anyone who burns just 1 American Flag. A Million here a Million there it all mounts up. Cut Funding to PBS. Make PBS Stand on it own. The same with NPR. If PBS Fund raising pitches are not commercials then please tell me what is.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 2:00 p.m.

    Look, we'd be in debt the way we are now regardless of who was elected to the presidency in 2008, let alone 2012, because it was the combination of tax cuts, two unfunded wars and an economic meltdown that created trillion dollar annual deficits in the first place.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 1:40 p.m.

    Red writes: " In other words the left hand is loaning money to the right hand."

    If all the claims you make in your posts are really true, isn't that the other way around?

    The right (Repubs) are loaning it to the left (Dems)?

    Or could it be that none of our legislators on either side are really interested in doing anything more than squabbling like a bunch of Kindergarteners on the playground?

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 11:20 a.m.

    I noticed today that Ben Bernanke ( the Federal Reserve) has committed to continuing to buy Treasury debt. The Federal Reserve is currently buying 70% of all Treasury debt issued. In other words the left hand is loaning money to the right hand. Is this not frightening to people? What happens when treasury debt has to go on sale in a truly free market? What will the interest rates be?
    I've noticed that previous posters have cast blame on previous administrations and legislators. The fact is that what's in the past is in the past and the mountain of debt is here now and in the future. The fact is that the American people don't want to change entitlements or cut military spending or one single department of the Federal Government. The current administration has shown no interest in growing the economy and increasing job opportunities so the only solution is to raise taxes on everyone.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 8:33 a.m.

    Yet wasn't Senator Bennett part of the problem for a long time?

    Earmarks. Allowing two wars to be placed on the national credit card. Cutting taxes for select Americans. Allowing regulation of banks and Wall Street to be gutted. Raiding Social Security funds to pay for other government programs.

    And when you look fairly and squarely at the record, you'll note it's not just Democrats who are big spenders in Congress. In fact, you might even notice that our debts have actually increased when Republicans sat in the White House and controlled Congress.

    But that would require a bit of effort and studying of reliable sources and that apparently is a thing only "liberals" do.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 10, 2012 7:37 a.m.

    Yes, Democrats, we have this massive debt, not because the government spends way too much, but only because those "rich" people are not paying enough taxes. You know, those rascals who already are paying nearly 80% of all federal income taxes while nearly half of Americans pay no federal income taxes at all. Drat those rich people anyway!

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 7:29 a.m.

    The tea party is the solution. Seriously, Bennett should have raised taxes back up the instant a war, let alone two wars were declared. To cut taxes then start multi -trillion dollar wars like The President and congress did is foolish. Even those that say taxes should not be raised for any reason must include wars as a necessary exception.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Dec. 10, 2012 6:59 a.m.

    Agreed. I only wish we still had folks like Senators Bennett and Lugar in the Senate. We need common sense folks to tackle the problems and move our nation forward.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 10, 2012 6:03 a.m.

    We need the Democrats to insure that our government does not give away the farm to the rich.

    We need the Republicans to insure that our government does not give away the farm to the poor.

    I hope they work together, in good faith, and both accomplish their goals.