Sunday, January 8, 2012

Asking the Wrong Question

In a political advertisement that has been running frequently in South Carolina over the last couple of weeks, Mitt Romney is shown addressing fiscal responsibility by proposing the following test for federal programs: "Is this program so critical, so important, that it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?"

My friends, that is not only the wrong question to ask, it is also an incredibly stupid question that flies in the face of what should be considered the bedrock principle of fiscal conservatism. I'm talking about the principle that guided earlier generations of Americans and made America the great country it was. The principle was simply this: If you can't afford to pay for it, don't buy it.

What makes Romney's question both wrong and stupid is it fails to address the problem that got us into our current financial morass. We are in the mess we're in partly because we have borrowed money to give excessive tax cuts to the upper income stratus rather than demanding they pay for the privileges they enjoy in this country. The proper question for Romney to ask, if he is really interested in fiscal responsibility, is this: Is this program so important to our people that it's worth paying for by raising tax revenues. If it is, then raise taxes. Clearly, the notion that lower taxes leads to increased employment has been proven to be utterly false.

Romney is not promising us a solution to our situation. Romney is throwing a shovel to the man trapped in a pit and yelling "Dig deeper, you'll get out eventually!"