The Saline Courier Weekend : 2019-06-16

OPINION : 4 : 4


OPINION Page 4 – The Saline Courier [email protected]­ Sunday, June 16, 2019 Wasteful government spending continues to rise EDITORIAL CARTOON “Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ... . ” — From the First Amendment to Constituti­on T he federal government seems to be consumed by raging battles about trade wars, immigratio­n and, of course, impeachmen­t. Those issues will run their course in due time, but there is a much bigger problem attracting little, if any, attention at the highest levels of government. President Trump rarely mentions it, if at all. Congress, for most of the year, sweeps it under the rug as it goes about its business of recklessly spending other people’s money. Newspapers and the nightly news programs all but ignore it. We’re talking about wasteful federal spending and an uncontroll­ed budget that threatens to bankrupt our country. In fiscal year 2020, the federal budget is forecast to produce a line of deficits totaling $1 trillion a year. But it gets worse -- a lot worse. “The federal debt increases each year more than the deficit,” says conservati­ve blogger Christophe­r Chantrill on his website, usgovernme­ “For FY 2019, the federal budget estimates that the federal debt will increase by about $1.32 trillion. That’s about $228 billion more than the official ‘deficit.’” The Committee for a Responsibl­e Federal Budget says that our government’s debt is “rising unsustaina­bly.” The group reported that, when the Congressio­nal Budget Office released its longterm budget outlook last summer, it projected that “debt held by the public will roughly double as a share of the economy under current law, from 78 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) at the end of 2018 to 152 percent of GDP in 2048 -- an unpreceden­ted level.” But here’s the really, really scary part, as reported by the CRFB: “Spending is growing faster than revenue. CBO projects spending will grow rapidly, from less than 21 percent of GDP in 2018 to over 29 percent by 2048. Revenue will grow slowly, from less than 17 percent of GDP in 2018 to nearly 20 percent of GDP. As a result, annual deficits grow from 3.9 percent of GDP in 2018 to 9.5 percent by 2048, approachin­g the post-world War II record set in 2009.” This will lead to much slower growth, reduced incomes, higher interest rates, and an “increased likelihood of a fiscal crisis,” said the group. Even worse, major trust funds could be headed toward insolvency, including Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare Hospital Insurance, if reforms are not enacted to preserve their finances. With spending growing faster than revenue, the answer is to slow the growth of federal spending, and that means getting rid of wasteful, ineffectiv­e, outdated federal programs. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was a Washington reporter assigned to dig into hundreds of federal spending programs for a series of articles that newspapers across the country gobbled up faster than I could write them. In 1980, my reporting was turned into a book titled “Fat City: How Washington Wastes Your Taxes.” The opening paragraph described my findings: “Our federal government has become a bloated, extravagan­t, paternalis­tic, remote, cluttered, disorganiz­ed, inefficien­t, frivolous, duplicativ­e, archaic wasteland.” I discovered that tens of billions of dollars were lost each year by the government through mismanagem­ent, fraud, abuse, waste, error, theft and corruption. There was the U.S. Assay Commission that, for 187 years, met to “do the job it had been faithfully performing since April 2, 1792, even though government officials said it was an agency that no longer performed a useful function.” There were anti-poverty programs, totaling $30 billion, that did little to help the poor, but that enriched an industry of consultant­s. In all, I uncovered more than 100 “nonessenti­al programs.” Many no longer exist, but have been replaced by other equally wasteful bureaucrac­ies that cry out for the budget-cutter’s ax. The budget shortfall has continued to increase under Trump, “driven by a combinatio­n of Republican tax cuts that will add up to about $1.5 trillion over a decade, and increased government spending,” Bloomberg News reported this week. It’s enough to make you sick. Is it is enough to make us stop? R DONALD LAMBRO ON RELIGION ••• ••• [email protected]­ The Saline Courier HOW TO REACH YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS Founded in 1876 Circuit Judge Grisham Phillips, 22nd Judicial District, Division 3, Saline County Courthouse, 200 N. Main St., Benton, AR 72015, 501-303-5628. State Sen. Kim Hammer, District 33, Phone: (501) 315-8228 • Fax: (501) 315-1230 • Email: [email protected]­ 1201 Military Road, PMB #285, Benton, 72015 501-682-6107, statesenat­[email protected] com. • The Saline Courier (USPS 050-660) is published daily by Horizon Publishing Co., 321 N. Market St., Benton, AR. Periodical mailing privileges paid in Benton, AR. $109 per year home delivery; $240 per year by mail within the state State Sen. Alan Clark, District 13 P.O. Box 211, Lonsdale, AR 72087, 501-262-3360, [email protected] Circuit Judge Robert Herzfeld, • Subscripti­on rates: 22nd Judicial District, Division 4, Saline County Annex, 321 N. Main St., Benton, AR 72015, 501-303-1584. or out-of-state. POSTMASTER: AR 72018. • Send address changes to The Saline Courier, P.O. Box 207, Benton, State Rep. Lanny Fite, District 23, 3324 Hwy. 5, Benton, AR 72019, 501-794-2228, [email protected] • Publishing company reserves the right to reject, edit or cancel any advertisin­g at any District Judge Michael Robinson, Benton District, 1605 Edison Ave., Benton, AR 72019, 501-303-5670. time without liability. Publisher’s liability for error is limited to amount paid for advertisin­g. State Rep. Andy Davis, District 31 P.O. Box 30248, Little Rock, AR 72260, 501-8375109, [email protected]­ ©Copyright 2006 Horizon Publishing Co. Josh briggs kelly Freudenspr­ung • editor • Publisher District Judge Stephanie Casady, Bryant District (Bryant, Alexander, Bauxite, Haskell, Shannon Hills), Boswell Municipal Complex, 210 SW Third St., Bryant, AR 72022, 501-8475223. [email protected]­ kfreudensp­[email protected]­ State Rep. Julie Mayberry, District 27 Julie allbritton 3022 E. Woodson Lateral Road, Hensley, AR 72065, 501-888-8222, [email protected] 414 Glenn Waits BUSINESS ADMINISTRA­TOR CIRCULATIO­N DIRECTOR State Rep. Jasen Kelly, District 28 [email protected]­ [email protected] West Conway Street, Benton, 72015. [email protected] Saline County Judge Jeff Arey, Patricia stuckey ricky Walters Courthouse 200 N. Main St., Benton, AR 72015, 501-303-5640. Circuit Judge Ken Casady, 22nd Judicial District, Division 1, Saline County Courthouse, 200 N. Main St., Benton, AR 72015, 501-3035635. COMPOSING DIRECTOR PRESS FOREMAN [email protected]­ [email protected]­ Prosecutin­g Attorney Chris Walton, 22nd Juicial District, 102 S. Main St., Benton, AR 72015, 501-315-7767. ••• Columns and cartoons on the opinion page do not necessaril­y reflect opinions of The Saline Courier. Weekend delivery times are no later than 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The circulatio­n department has re-delivery scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday-friday and from 7 to 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 501-317-6013 or 501-315-8228 during business hours. Donald Lambro has been covering Washington politics for more than 50 years as a reporter, editor and commentato­r. Circuit Judge Gary Arnold, 22nd Judicial District, Division 2, Saline County Courthouse, 200 N. Main St., Benton, AR 72015, 501-3035664. Saline County Sheriff Rodney Wright Saline County Detention Center, 735 S. Neeley St., Benton, AR 72015; 501-303-5609.

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