Our leaders must get us on the right track
TBO.comForget the CIA sex scandals, gay marriage and even Benghazi for a moment. We have some huge issues that deserve immediate attention and everyone's focus. It's critical that for once in too long of a time we actually deal with these issues and quit pushing them off for another time. The time is now.
Published: December 2, 2012
Published: December 2, 2012
First, of course, is the so-called fiscal cliff our nation is facing. If a compromise isn't found in a few weeks, lots of bad things are going to happen that won't benefit anyone. Regardless of what anyone says or thinks, no one is going to be 100 percent happy with the outcome. Taxes are going to go up on some folks — most likely the wealthy — and entitlement programs and defense spending is going to be cut.
We can dance around this issue, but the problem is that most of our federal budget is spent on Social Security, Medicare and defense spending. So these will have to be cut to some extent no matter what any of us want. It's also true that more revenue must come in as well. Middle class and lower income people cannot take a bigger tax hike, and it's clear the president isn't going to budge on these campaign issues that played a big part in him being elected.
The next huge issue we face involves more jobs. Tax opponents claim that increased taxes will hurt job growth. We doubt that. When higher taxes on the rich were in place under President Bill Clinton, it didn't affect the number of jobs being created. But we also must be open to other opportunities to provide more jobs such as the Keystone XL project, which costs $7 billion but will bring a 1,700-mile pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
Environmentalists decry the project, although there's already a pipeline that goes as far as Oklahoma and Illinois. They also say that it's time for us to change focus to cleaner energy, and we don't argue that, either. But the fact remains that right now we are highly dependent on foreign oil and it's time for that to change.
This pipeline would bring 700,000 barrels of oil a day into the U.S., which is about half of what we import from the Middle East. Along with the oil are many jobs that Americans need right now. We must put Americans back to work and these are good-paying jobs.
President Barack Obama has pushed off a decision on the pipeline until after the election, but now it's time for him to lay it on the line with Americans. We hope he pushes forward with the pipeline because it's the best short-term remedy to what ails us on several fronts.
And the other issue concerns our nation's debt ceiling. Obama was humiliated on this issue when Republicans refused to negotiate and the U.S. saw its credit rating drop. It seems as if Obama will do whatever's necessary for that not to happen again, and we certainly hope so. It's too important.
So while we easily get sidetracked with sex scandals and gay marriage and even immigration reform, our leaders have some extremely important matters to address. Deal with them now. The American people are ready for what's necessary. Just get us on the right track.