Is One Percent Really Too Much To Ask?
Sixty-eight years ago today, the people of the United States came together as one to make a stand against tyranny and to do what everyone knew needed to be done.
It was called D-Day, the Invasion of Normandy.
More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported over 100,000 American troops as they established a beachhead in Europe that eventually led to the end of World War II, with the forces of Nazism being driven from Europe and into the annals of evil.
Meanwhile, at home, almost the entire U.S. economy was leveraged toward generating whatever materials were necessary in order to support this urgent national priority.
We call that generation the “Greatest Generation” because we honor them for stepping up to tasks and missions that they would not have chosen, but which they accepted as necessary.
It’s thus disheartening to fast-forward to the present and find that somehow we can’t muster enough courage to balance the budget and fix our economy, which by any measure should be a much easier lift.
To win World War II, tremendous sacrifice of life and treasure was necessary; to fix our budget problems, it only requires cutting spending by one percent for five years.
Seriously. That’s all it takes.
Hasn’t your family probably cut your discretionary spending over the last couple of years by at least 1 percent in order to deal with the bad economy? Haven’t most families? Haven’t most businesses?
Meanwhile the government keeps rolling along fat and happy, refusing to make even a 1 percent reduction in spending in order to set its house in order, and in fact demanding more.
If the federal government would reduce its spending by only one penny out of every dollar—by 1 percent—in the fifth year of doing so the budget would be balanced.
But it’s even better than that. The budget would be balanced with federal spending at about 18 percent of GDP, which is right in line with the post-World War II level of government spending. That’s in contrast with the almost 25 percent of GDP that the federal government is spending today, with the trajectory of federal spending pointing up toward 30 percent in the near future.
The “Penny Plan” has been introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Congressman Connie Mack of Florida. It does what everyone knows needs to be done—sets the federal government’s fiscal house in order and restrains government to a reasonable share of GDP.
It requires our elected officials to make hard choices, but it doesn’t require a Greatest Generation-level of commitment. It only requires cutting one penny out of every dollar of spending. Is that too much to ask?