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LETTER: A local discussion of the national debt
Congratulations to Congressman Scott Perry, the Concord Coalition, and York College.
On June 1, 40-plus local citizens discussed the nation’s unsustainable debt for two and one half hours without resorting to name calling, personal attacks or combat. Individuals having assorted knowledge, experiences, and ideology were provided with some data identifying issues and asked to consider alternate solutions.
I had three takeaways: brainstorming, mission creep and groupthink.
Brainstorming was obvious as people drew from personal experience and beliefs to offer opinions. Opposing views were offered in an orderly and respectful manner at tables of five individuals. Votes were taken, and majority ruled. Those holding opposing views accepted the process as fair.
An individual raised a concern of “mission creep.” The size of the debt is a byproduct of the “business” of government. More government regulations require more spending. When the government grows and the economy staggers, the government borrows from the future to maintain the status quo.
Toward the end of the session those assembled seemed resigned to “groupthink.” There were too many issues, too little time, and ambiguous data. The meeting compressed 238 years of congressional actions into two and one half hours. The federal government does not have to balance the budget so good intentions were not restrained by the reality of limited revenue.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office provided the data that defined and limited the debate. If the underlying assumptions are flawed, decisions based on that data are at risk. The CBO assumes all programs will work as legislated without exceptions or selective enforcement. History has repeatedly demonstrated faulty plans fail on contact with reality. Under the CBO, failed programs continue to be funded with annual increases built-in. This emperor has no clothes and deserves to be exposed.
Spring Garden Township