While attention has been focused on the fever-pitched emotions emanating from Michigan becoming the nation’s 24th right-to-work state, another controversy is quietly brewing — one of more universal concern and longer-lasting effects.
On Monday, a group of about 40 demonstrators stood outside their congressman’s Pensacola office, voicing their concern over the looming “fiscal cliff.” Their message to Republican Rep. Jeff Miller was simple — keep your hands off my Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
According to Josh Cooper, writing for PNJ.com, the event was organized by the AFL-CIO, which opposes cuts to all entitlement programs but supports tax hikes on the wealthy.
“The message is out that we’re not accepting these cuts,” Gerri Bell, AFL-CIO coordinator, said in the PNJ.com story. “We are the ones who are working every day. ”
President Obama’s class warfare message has reached the quiet, conservative Florida Panhandle. The message, however, is overly simplistic and fraught with dishonesty.
Taxing those making over $250,000 per year will bring an additional $82 billion into the public coffers. Total expenses for fiscal year 2012 were $3.7 trillion, or a shade over $10 billion per day. Therefore, taxing the rich would run the government for about eight days. However, the president is also proposing new expenditures which will eat up 75 percent of new receipts from taxing the rich. So make that two days.
But it’s even more sobering to look at the nation’s specific expenditures.
According to Page 208 of the White House’s own budget proposal, receipts would just barely cover mandatory spending and interest payments. And of that amount, entitlement spending accounts for the lion’s share, $1.5 billion.
In other words, if the government were to come to a complete standstill and get rid of all of its departments and agencies, we would just barely be able to make mandatory expenditures.
That means no more Departments of Defense, Justice, Treasury, Agriculture, Transportation, Interior, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, State and all the rest too numerous to list.
Of those departments, a national defense is the primary purpose of any government, as is a system of justice. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are not, and weren’t even envisioned when our country was founded.
Entitlement programs aren’t unworthy, but contrary to the pleas of the Pensacola protesters, they need to be tweaked before they drag the entire country down with their weight.
The photo PNJ.com provided showed demonstrators smiling. If something isn’t done to reverse our fiscal course, those faces will soon be indistinguishable from the hate-filled visages we saw on the union thugs in Michigan — or the mobs in Greece.