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Some want to unjustly thrust the burden of the debt on our grandchildren. Others want to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. But both plans are morally bankrupt.

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There is a way--a realistic way, a moral way--to fix the deficit. We can break political gridlock with solutions that stand on a foundation of solid values and fair play. The Social Security trust fund is insolvent. Our ability to pay our bills has a direct impact on our national security, our economic standing in the world, and the global economy both now and in the future. It is an unconscionable crime and injustice to our children and grandchildren to load them up with so much debt.

Most fundamentally, the problem is one of inter-generational injustice.

Fixing the Moral Deficit: A Balanced Way to Balance the Budget

In simpler terms, instead of leaving our children and grand-children better off, we are saddling them with a country increasingly encumbered with debt obligations. When China becomes one of our major creditors, we compromise national security. And when we propose deficit reduction programs that cut programs that have a proven track record of lifting people out of poverty and fail to call upon the rich to sacrifice, then we have a moral deficit. So contends Ron Sider.


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Ron Sider goes further than simply to decry the problem, or the solutions our polarized political parties have proposed. He actually tackles the hard work of proposing how we might balance the budget without doing so on the backs of the poor. He does propose cutting spending for duplicative social programs and those proven ineffective while preserving programs like food stamps and Pell grants and subsidized education loans while regulating the for-profit schools.

He would cut or at least freeze our military spending, which totals what nearly all other nations in the world combined spend. He also argues that tax increases are necessary to make it, and contends that all should sacrifice, and the rich sacrifice more, recognizing the infrastructure that makes that wealth possible. He suggests increasing these taxes, and a tax surcharge for all of us until the debt is paid off.

Fixing the Moral Deficit by Ron Sider

My own questions concern whether his proposal gets the job done and the lack of serious attention to the economic implications of what he proposes. I also think until we have safeguards that prevent using taxes levied for debt reduction to increase spending, you will never convince the American people to commit to the sacrifice of greater taxes.

What seems most helpful instead of complaining is to become engaged citizens who really come to terms with both the implications of the debt and the hard decisions that are unavoidable if we are to make real progress in removing this burden.


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Sider concludes the book with practical steps that can be taken. The question he faces us with is whether we will continue to live in denial of the immoral thing we are doing with leaving these debts to the coming generations, or whether we will make hard decisions and collective sacrifices, which is what good parents have always done so that their children will have the opportunity for a better life. You are commenting using your WordPress.