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Tough decisions await Congress, and us PDF Print E-mail

By Jan Schultz, The Imperial Republican News Editor

A flurry of new Congressmen and women arrived in Washington D.C. this week, joining those who returned after the recent recess.
They are arriving and returning after a big November election victory for the Republican Party, which took over the majority in the House. Hopefully, the celebrating is over, and, as they stare at a $14 trillion debt, the freshman congressmen better remember why they just got elected.
It’s no doubt there are some tough choices ahead. This country cannot continue on its path of spending, and the debt that comes with it.
Some of the decisions on spending will certainly end up affecting each and every one of us in some way.
Earmarks have received a lot of press the past year, and even more so since the election.
One of the biggest recipients of earmarks, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky,  who reports say has steered up to $1 billion in earmarks to his home state, is even getting on board in support of a moratorium on earmarks.
Maybe there is hope. You’ll notice, though, that he supports only a moratorium, not an outright ban of them as there should be.
Earmarks represent about 1% of the budget, and some (likely the senators and representatives who are big recipients of them) say that doing away with them won’t make a dent in the budget.
However, it was interesting to hear the perspective on that from a congressman from Arizona, Rep. Jeff Flakes.
Unfortunately, he says, some of his colleagues spend so much work and time on corralling those earmarks for their districts and states that they take their eyes off the other 99% of the spending.
Some of this country’s largest entitlement programs, such as Social Security, will have to be changed. The discussion has included raising the retirement age and reducing some benefits.
Will the American people riot like they have done in Europe at such as suggestion?
What about farm subsidies? What about military spending? What about Medicare?
We will all have to change that mindset that some of the entitlement programs are just too big (as long as they affect someone else), and, yes, the budget needs to be cut as long as it doesn’t affect me and my state.
It will be interesting to see if the election tide will truly carry over to Washington, and the real tough decisions get made.
But, we need to look at ourselves, too.