Originally Posted by GoneBoatN
I understand your point but our elected officials use this kind of logic for continuing to not address the problem/issue. When social welfare is mentioned they say cutting it would not put a dent in the deficit. Trimming defense spending would not put a dent in the deficit...
The thing is you have to start somewhere and the sooner you start the sooner it is fixed. The longer you wait the harder it is going to be to take the cure.
But it's intellectual dishonesty to say "the sooner you start the sooner it is fixed". If you can't say what "start" means, and how it's going to affect the deficit over the next 1, 5, 10, 20 years, all you're really saying is "there's a bunch of programs that I disagree with that I want to kill, and I'm going to use the deficit as a cover to try to do so". You can talk all you want about <name your favorite government spending boondoggle>, but if cutting it doesn't impact the deficit then be honest - simply say "I don't like this program, and want to see it eliminated".
My point above is that we've passed the point where cutting school lunches or eliminating the EPA can have any affect on our national economic health. Defense spending is going nowhere but up - and it's going to be left in the dust by the rise in mandatory social spending. As the population ages and there are fewer workers supporting each retiree, and as new benefits get instituted for retirees to pander to the strongest voting block in the country, the deficits associated with SS, Medicaid, and Medicare are going to skyrocket.
The fiscal cliff problems don't matter in the long run - taxes aren't high enough to pay off the promises that have been made - promises that we don't have the political will to break. They will have to go up, unless a miraculous turnaround occurs in the economy that raises tax revenues without raising tax rates. Whether they go up next week, or next year, isn't that important from a long term perspective. Spending can't decrease significantly (and will IMHO continue to increase at an increasing rate), so taxes have to go up eventually.