Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Columns

October 17, 2013

The real deficit's in leadership

(Continued)

“That doesn’t sound unreasonable. It’s not fair that politically connected people and groups are getting waivers or funding credits that millions of us will never get.”

“Now, we are approaching the debt-ceiling deadline this Thursday and Republicans hope to negotiate various entitlement and spending reforms with the president as part of a new debt-limit deal.”

“I thought President Obama established a commission to come up with proposals on how to do that.”

“That is correct. During his first term, the president established the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform — also known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission. The bipartisan commission offered several sensible ideas to get our government in order over the long term. Unfortunately, the president has pretty much ignored the commission’s findings.”

“We are on an unsustainable path, aren’t we?”

“Absolutely unsustainable. David Walker, a political independent who was the nation’s top auditor in the Government Accountability Office, told the Seattle Times how bad our financial situation really is. He said our debt is $17 trillion, but our unfunded promises for Social Security and other entitlement programs total $73 trillion.”

“That’s a lot of cabbage.”

“Walker has several ideas to address the spending challenge and many mirror the findings of Obama’s commission. Some are not horribly painful and can be enacted over time. For instance, to salvage Social Security, he recommended that we index the retirement age to increases in life expectancy. Or, to bring in more tax revenue, cut down on the exemptions and deductions that disproportionately benefit the wealthy.”

“Sounds reasonable to me.”

“It isn’t just reasonable. It is completely necessary. Real reform requires extraordinary leadership and that leadership has to come from the president. He is the only leader in Washington for whom all Americans had a chance to vote, according to Walker. He has the bully pulpit.”

“What if he doesn’t take the lead on these issues?”

Tom Purcell is an author and a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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