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Another View

By Staff | Aug 22, 2011

By John M. Andrist

The Journal, Crosby

As the debate drones on to resolve the federal budget crisis, the sticking point essentially has become the question of a balanced budget mandate.

Suddenly, it occurred to me, politics aside, that I know of no other private or public institution that doesn’t operate on the premise that they must balance spending with revenue.

Most states require balanced budgets. In North Dakota it is a constitutional requirement. Some states figure out a way to gerrymander, like selling bonds to cover overruns, but most of them do have to find a way to balance.

Private entities simply can’t operate outside a balanced budget.

Doesn’t it seem strange to you that anybody operating on other people’s money should not be responsive to balancing spending with revenue?

I can understand calamitous events requiring the use of a bank. But as a basic day-to-day premise it boggles my mind that anybody would systematically appropriate and put out money we know is not available.

I belong to one organization that has had challenging times. Falling membership, falling revenue. A couple years ago the CEO told his board he just couldn’t provide a balanced budget. They said he must.

Push came to shove and they had to fire him. That’s plain, simple logic in the private world.

It seems to me that a Congress that can’t do it should be summarily fired, too.

Okay, so I am primarily talking about Democrats. Let’s talk also about the Republicans. It is not worth taking our country to the wall over the issue of raising taxes, particularly taxes on those most able to pay more in these troubled times.

To be sure, any significant tax increase must come from those in upper income levels. For whatever reason, the lower half of American earners are putting only a pittance into the U.S. Treasury anyway.

Indeed, the top 1 percent of earners are paying far more than all the folks in the bottom half.

But Republicans need to accept, just like Democrats, that they have to fund what they spend.

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