I wonder how many Americans know the difference between budget and debt? I always have to keep it clear in my own mind when politicians are talking about these problems and when they are being reported.
Balancing the budget means that we shouldn't spend more than we take in. Cutting the budget means spending less than we have listed for spending. Deficit means an unbalanced budget.
The national debt is what we owe, what we've borrowed from ourselves and from others, what must be paid off. Cutting the budget indicates that we'll spend less, but it doesn't mean that we'll not have to borrow. Balancing the budget means that we'll not have to borrow.
A budget surplus means that we can apply the surplus to paying off some of the debt, paying back some of what we've borrowed. Unless we have a significant surplus, we can't make a significant payment.
The most important thing to do is to pay as much as we can on the debt. Without sufficient revenue, we can not balance the budget and we can not merely by cutting what we spend then produce a surplus. We more likely, as we've been doing produce a deficit.
Most of our revenue comes from taxes. If we reduce taxes, we reduce incoming revenue. The more we reduce revenue or cut taxes, the less chance we of have balancing a budget, let alone coming up with a surplus.
If we were to cut a budget to zero, with zero revenue, we'd have no money to operate with and no surplus. What we need is revenue. If politically it becomes impossible to attain revenue, that is, that we can not collect taxes, then we must get money from somewhere else.
I believe that we need taxes if we are to work toward balancing the budget and we also need to find another source of money if we aren't going to raise revenue to sufficiently produce an annal surplus.
We as a nation own the national parks and the money we collect from their use doesn't much pay for their upkeep. We also own all our national energy resources, except that we lease out ownership to all sorts of oil companies, for example.
If we were to tax oil companies at a rate of 75% annually we'd pay off our debt in about 16 years. Oil companies don't care about us as a nation. They believe it's Un-American to cut their subsidies. I believe that it's Un-American for us NOT to share significantly from our own resources.
Taxing oil, for example, would not negatively affect our economy.
I believe that the only way that we can solve our national fiscal problem in the next two decades is by significantly taxing the production and distribution of energy or completely taking-over this resource. And we must solve the problem of debt reduction as soon as possible.
Taxing would be better than take-over, so that operations remain private and politics could remain outside of the actual operations. I know that the cry will be “socialism.” But does anyone know another way?
This is not a question of ideology but one of practicality and of survival.