We're broke. As a nation we are B-r-o-k-e - broke; as in out of money but more bills to pay. And we just took on another mega-bill with the 'bail-out.'
To my amazement all that I thought I knew and understood about budget & finance all these years is totally WRONG. Washington is leading in a new, cutting edge approach to debt management - spend more money. Who knew?!?!
I'm astounded, I really am. Being a military spouse I am very aware of the the impact that debt/finances can have on not only my credit score but also my Sailor's career. Literally thousands of service members have lost their clearances over the past seven years due to a debt level that makes them a security risk. I think the government owes these service members an apology, security clearance restored and perhaps even restitution. They were only ahead of their time in Washington's example!
Okay, enough of the sarcasm. But pehaps not enough indignation. If I must keep our debt to income ratio in check, if our financial health is mandatory for my Sailor's career how much more should the legislators of our country wisely manage the nation's debt.
Let me back up just a moment. In a time when we are so over our heads in debt that not only is their no light at the end of the tunnel...there IS no end to the tunnel, are we hearing from presidential or congressional candidates for not just fiscal restraint but for total budget cuts? NO. Not one. I have not heard the candidates espousing how they are going to fight not only new ridiculous funding of pet projects but CUTTING those already in existence. The silence is deafening.
But what really has my ire today is recent news...We are broke and our congressional leaders are proposing another 'stimulus package' (translation: cutting more checks from an overdrawn account to those they hope will vote and keep them in power).
If I must balance my finances it is time to require it of our leaders. I propose a few simple steps...
1) Post the government checkbook on line with full disclosure of expenditures (ok, classified projects should not be disclosed in particular but I'll be watching for out of control spending in that category). Sound absurd? Well, it has worked in states and municipalities across the country...and didn't Speaker Pelosi promise "unprecedented transparency?" Post what I bought with my tax money, Nancy.
2) Hire debt management experts [Dave Ramsey (Financial Peace University), June Walbert (CFP, USAA), or even the local FFSC Financial counselor - if they'd even take it] to ruthlessly identify and cut the fat. They can coach congress and the president with the basics of debt reduction and development of a spending plan. Get professional help - outside the beltway help - from those whose personal finances are in order.
3) Cut salaries of all elected officials (have you ever noticed how prosperous it is to be a congressman? They all seem to be able to afford multiple homes, compounds, and much more.) Perhaps they are over paid. The opportunities to increase their wealth as a result of their government service is great. Therefore their meager government salary is inconsequential. What a great start in our budget saving initiatives - cut salaries by 50% and 'redistribute that wealth' back to the tax payer.
4) Institute an immediate budget cut across the board. Everyone takes a 10% cut with the sole exception of the military (we are at war afterall).
5) Austerity needs to be the by-word. If millions across this country have to make decisions not to spend on 'wants' to pay the 'absolute needs', if small businesses must make payroll and manage their budget then so does the government.
6) Outsource what is not effectively done by the Government. Wanna' stimulate the country, create jobs? Outsource to the civilian sector what can be done more effectively than the government and do it now. Have you noticed the government is THE MOST inefficient business? And, to be honest, often the most ineffective. Put it out on the market where industry must balance their books AND produce a quality product.
Simplistic? yeah. Effective? Possibly...but business as usual, more deficit spending, in my opinon, is not acceptable. What is your opinion?