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Right to the Point

Cut spending now or pay more later

March 10, 2011

By Kayla Purvis

The federal government’s averted shutdown and the issues that led to it have gotten myself and, likely, a lot of you thinking about our budget. I thought about writing about the technical, run-of-the-mill government aspect of the whole thing but honestly, the political side is much more interesting.

Obama proposes cutting $1.1 trillion over ten years, but first we would need to increase our deficit to $1.65 trillion this year before our debt would start to drop. That includes removing $100 billion from federal college loan funds. I give you this information because the deduction in government spending is going to hit everyone. As a second-semester high school senior, I understand what it means to lose $100 billion in financial aid. That does not mean I don’t support the movement to do it.

A deficit occurs when you spend more than you take in. Too much time with a deficit results in a debt. The United States is fiercely spiraling into an enormous debt – $14 trillion. According to the U.S. debt clock (usdebtclock.org), the debt per citizen is more than $45,700.

I fully support cutting our spending. Someone in my current issues class said: “There’s really nothing you can cut without hurting someone.” I find our country’s social desire to provide for everyone noble – really, I do. And I wish it were possible to do it without seriously endangering the financial stability of the nation. But we just can’t do it. Not right now. Economies around the world are soaring and surpassing us. We need to cut spending, even if it’s in areas that we would rather not.

Do I want to lose college money? Of course not, but it is necessary. The same is true of veterans’ benefits, Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare, etc. The things I listed in the previous sentence are part of the 2/3 of our budget that is mandatory spending, which means legislation would need to be changed in order for us to alter that spending. I truly think it needs to be done.

Everyone is going to have to understand that it will not be easy and it will not be ideal. But this is America, and we are supposed to be tough enough to endure. This country used to be all about sacrificing in order to prevail.

I am a conservative Republican but by no means am I to the far right. I agree with quite a bit of liberal ideas, at least socially. I am not against the federal government trying to help out. There are certain topics and issues, however, that I believe the government isn’t entitled to have to say in, according to the Constitution. But when it comes to this enormous deficit and our declining economy, I see the need to cut programs and funding to as many areas as we can manage. No, I don’t think it’s ideal to remove veterans’ benefits or Medicare from people who desperately need it. Morally, I do not want to do that. Fiscally, I do.

I want to see this country keep going. No matter how unrealistic, I would love to see a turn around and have our economy and status be where it was way before I was born.
But that doesn’t happen on its own. We all need to find common ground where social and fiscal cuts are compromised and where we can start making positive progress. We need to evaluate our priorities and take a good look at what we truly can afford to spend in aid programs. So many Americans are already sacrificing and it doesn’t make any sense to continue the way we are going…the suffering would last longer than if we immediately got cracking on cutting our spending.

I applaud President Obama for getting the ball rolling and attempting a compromise.

Williston resident Kayla Purvis is a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School.