Today: Mar 03, 2024

Distorted Priorities in U.S. Economic Agenda

SARAH GREEN—Copy Editor

As Southern students return to campus to begin their classes for the fall semester, Republicans and Democrats in Washington return to their counterproductive arguments and useless debates—nothing out of the ordinary for our elected Congressmen.

After breaking for five weeks Congress has resumed work, if you can call it that.  Republican and Democrat leaders have said they are determined to ease the 9.1 percent unemployment rate, but it seems that none of their proposed remedies match up.  While the American economy is barely growing, the Republicans and Democrats are once again completely divided—yet their focus is more on the issue of government spending than it is on job creation.  It seems that their priorities are clearly out of line.

Across the board, funds are running out.  The Federal Aviation Administration will be forced to shut down in less than two weeks unless some measure is approved that will allow it to continue operating.  By the end of the month, there will be no more money for highway construction jobs unless Congress creates new legislation.  Plus, the recent destruction caused by Hurricane Irene has left many states seeking federal aid; aid that cannot be provided unless legislators devise a temporary spending bill to cover related federal agencies. 

These numerous issues present an opportunity for partisan cooperation—or gridlock.  Considering Congress’s recent actions, it seems that the latter may be more readily expected.

Americans are not thrilled with the actions of Congress either.  Their recent decision regarding the government spending limit has left the nation divided. Many Republicans feel the debt ceiling should not have been raised at all, many Independents said they wanted more deficit reductions and some Democrats were simply shocked that President Obama negotiated so much with the Republicans.

With costs rising everywhere in the nation, it is unsurprising that the members of the debt-reduction committee face many challenges in attempting to find areas for long-term savings.  Nevertheless, the president will likely push committee members to exceed the minimum goal of $1.2 trillion in reductions.

The government is trying to be as forward-thinking as possible at this time, attempting to avoid greater future deficits.  The debt-reduction committee has plenty of motivation; unless they approve the $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts, Congress will be forced to make other spending cuts across-the-board.

Many feel the chances of compromise are 50-50.  Congress is already faced with a difficult task in finding deficit cuts – and that’s not considering the job creation plans that need to be created and approved.  Too often Republicans and Democrats “dig in” when they have opposing opinions.  Let’s hope that this time there is some partisan compromise.

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