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Budget’s just a plan

EDITOR:

The next time you hear statements about budgets, surpluses, deficits, income taxes or the national debt consider the following.

A budget is a list of all anticipated expenses and a plan for how those expenses will be financed. The word plan must be emphasized.



The budget is not the actual financial performance. The national debt increasing or decreasing at year end is the true measure of the government’s financial performance. There has been an annual increase in the national debt for over 50 years and it matters little how much of a surplus or deficit that year’s federal budget might have had at the beginning of the year.

The presidential budget, a request to congress for certain new appropriations along with the final congressional federal budget, do not contain known current spending requirements approved in prior years. In the 2009 fiscal year, 54 percent of all actual federal expenditures were known at the beginning of the year yet not included in the budgets. The listing of only newly approved expenditures is far from being a true budget.



The presence of surpluses is often falsely bantered about, especially concerning the “Clinton administration.”

No president, congress or political party has left us with a financial surplus in more than 50 years with the national debt increasing every year for more than 50 years. Anticipated total income in excess of only anticipated new appropriations is not a surplus much less a true budget.

It is not high mathematics but simple arithmetic. To not increase the national debt in the 2008 tax year the taxes of those with an adjusted gross income over $200,000 would have to be increased another $232,000 above what they had already paid. Increasing the taxes of those with adjusted gross incomes in excess of $500,000 would essentially have taken every penny of their income to eliminate the increase in the national debt. If by some magic these were possible, such tax increases would not have reduced the national debt one iota; it simply would not have increased the debt. Beware of the pandering politician who, in essence, tells us not to worry they will solve our economic woes by increasing the taxes on the rich and lowering the taxes on the average person without touching entitlements. They do not tell the truth.

The hard harsh truth is that the continued increases in the national debt are of such magnitude that to correct them will require the government to both increase revenue with simultaneous decreases in expenditures. These expenditure reductions are not in some ethereal non-sensitive mist but are for such government programs as health, education, social security, welfare, agriculture, public safety, small business, infrastructure, etc. Increasing revenue is increasing taxes. To start paying down the national debt will require an even more stringent application of remedies.

The softer and more forgiving we are of our politicians, the worse will be our suffering for the failure of our government.

Ben Justus

Gardnerville