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Jim Bagwell: It’s time for leadership – or economic meltdown

Jim Bagwell
For the Nevada Appeal

We have reached the end of the time allotted for the so-called supercommittee to present a plan to cut the budget and try to get the deficit under control. As I expected, no deal and we continue to spend at record levels.

First let’s agree that we have no federal budget. We have operated at the federal level for several years on continuing resolutions trading debt ceilings for rhetoric. Remember that prior to the last election, with Democrats in firm control, “Princess Nancy” and “Prince Harry” refused to let a budget proposal be presented. This was an election ploy intended to diminish the fears we had concerning spending and the national debt. It worked to some degree as the Democrats maintained control of the Senate.

Secondly, with the deficit now at $15 trillion, it is to the benefit of the Democrats to not allow a deal to come out of the Supercommittee. If any of their programs are cut, they will lose support of their base and suffer at the polls.

The automatic trigger if no deal is agreed to is major cuts in military and domestic spending. The Dems know that the Republicans are reluctant to allow the military to be eviscerated, so the trigger probably will not be implemented to its intended amount. If Republicans do not allow the trigger to work, the president effectively gets his original wish of increased spending with no consequences. They satisfy their base and keep many of their votes and they get to blame Republicans for the failure of the committee. Remember the debt commission was the president’s idea until he saw its recommendations. Also, remember the Republicans have held the House only a scant 11 months.

Through all of this bickering there is one giant gorilla that remains in the room and isn’t going away. The DEFICIT. At some point we have to face this ever-growing monster. It appears to me that the leadership of both parties in Washington are not too worried about how the growing deficit will impact the future of this country. Has anyone considered another financial downgrade?

I conjectured a year ago that we would see strikes and riots like Europe if we did not stand up and place limits on our spending at that time. In states that moved aggressively to control spending and unions, you see recall elections orchestrated by the unions. These Wall Street rioters [my definition] want many things, but your future is primary in their sights. Whatever you have earned and saved for your future is what they want without having to work for it. Something akin to communism, socialism or at least an entitlement mentality.

Does anyone see that we cannot spend capital that we do not have? Our national debt is about equal to the gross national product. How much longer do we have before we have economic meltdown? We are printing money at record levels, but that is still debt; money doesn’t grow on trees or a printing press.

Reid was sent to the U. S. Senate by the people of Nevada to represent “the people of Nevada.” We have a state economy that is struggling and the highest unemployment rate in the country. When will he address our problems? I realize he has an important leadership position and it requires much of his time, but we could use a little of his time, too. He could have helped all of us by helping the Supercommittee get a handle on spending instead of playing party politics.

It would appear that the senator sees his primary job as that of leader of the Obama fan club. The president and our all-seeing senator see the only solution as tax hikes on the wealthy, the business community and anyone else they can target. I believe this is a spending issue with all of our leaders addicted to spending their constituencies’ money. Republicans over the years are just as guilty as our present cadre of Democrats. If you find yourself in personal financial distress, do you demand a hefty pay raise or decrease spending? Good luck on the pay raise.

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan stated: “Millions of Americans today have had to tighten their belts because of the economic conditions, and it’s time to put Washington on a diet, too. Gaining control of the size of government, getting our economy back on track, will not wait.” What has changed except the size of government and the deficit?

This inability of Congress to act in our best interest causes me to wonder in whose best interest are they acting? Is Harry fiddling while the United States begins to burn? It is time for Harry to lead or get the hell out of the way.

• Jim Bagwell of Carson City is a Vietnam veteran and graduate of the FBI National Academy who worked 31 years in law enforcement. He and his wife, Lori, own Charley’s Grilled Subs.