The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

Columns

January 17, 2013

Another ‘cliff’ on the horizon for U.S.

NORMAN — Well, the country dodged a bullet with the agreement between President Barack Obama and the Congress to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.” It would be nice to breath a sigh of relief that such nonsense is over. Alas, it’s not.

The next fiscal mess comes up in less than two months — the battle over lifting the debt ceiling. Expect another donnybrook as congressional Republicans attempt to force the president into accepting further cuts in federal spending in exchange for accepting a higher debt limit.

We may not need reminding that lifting the debt ceiling in the past was noncontroversial. It is basically a step to permit the treasury to pay bills the U.S. owes. It has no effect on future spending.

Regardless, the GOP plans to use this routine action to compel the president to accept more spending reductions. It really is a form of blackmail.

So what do the Republicans in Congress want to cut? Certainly not the defense budget, although that should be an obvious target. Reducing domestic discretionary spending would not be nearly enough to make a difference in the debt.

All of this means that the search clearly leads to where the big money is — in so- called entitlement spending. The two largest such programs — Social Security and Medicare — are ones that most Americans have invested in for decades. Nonetheless, they remain (along with Medicaid) as the only real source of the enormous amount needed to put a dent in the government’s debt.

We can identify several compelling alternatives to cutting programs that provide popular and even indispensible benefits for mostly older citizens. All involve raising more revenue. Take Social Security first.

A major first step in improving the fiscal viability of this trust fund is to lift the earnings cap on high-income taxpayers. (Currently, wage earners pay no Social Security tax above the level of $113,700.) Such a step would raise an immense sum.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Don’t let moderation confuse you

    Jeb Bush’s recent compassionate comments on immigration show how far apart he is from the far right of the Republican Party....

    April 20, 2014

  • Priest’s execution should spur action

    In the hierarchy of saints, martyrs are on the highest rung of the celestial ladder, at least for me....

    April 20, 2014

  • Settlers found opportunities in red dirt fields

    There are few constants in families where the teenagers and soon-to-be teenagers outnumber their parents. One things holds true at my home: Nobody gets out of bed in the morning before dear old Dad....

    April 20, 2014

  • NRA members need to step up

    Please, Mr. Bloomberg, leave the checkbook open, but step away from the podium. Your efforts to curb gun violence and improve safety are notable. The National Rifle Association thanks you....

    April 19, 2014

  • First, do no harm — to your bank account

    After being sued by the Wall Street Journal, the government finally released its Medicare reimbursement data last week. It included the less-than-stunning revelation that 28 of the 100 doctors who received the largest payments in 2012 were ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Reading between the lines

    Reading is such an improbable idea — a miracle, really. Yet simple squiggles on a page, arranged just so, can convey ideas that change the way we think or introduce to us characters we love for a lifetime. In celebration of reading — and ...

    April 15, 2014

  • CCFI tackling area’s child abuse problem

    Editor, The Transcript: To those of you who are reading this editorial, I assume you care or at least are entertained by the opinions of others. It is my hope and desire that when you read this editorial, you will care about the facts. ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Does Oklahoma need advice from Texas?

    Does Texas have a lock on “brilliant minds”? The names of Texans like Congressman Louie Gomert, Sen. Ted Cruz and that other guy ... I can’t think of his name ... oh yeah, Rick Perry come to mind very quickly. Add to that infamous list ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Why Comcast-Time Warner deal makes sense

    Say this about the deal announced Thursday for Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable: It’s big. Big price tag of $45 billion. Big combined subscriber base of 30 million households. And big risk of a veto from government antitrust regulators....

    April 12, 2014

  • Solid evidence within ice record

    In his November 10 Letter, Gary Reynolds misstated information in the October 27 op-ed by Catherine Hobbs, “New report says global warming is “unequivocal.” Mr. Reynolds incorrectly stated that Dr. Hobbs cited evidence from the 2007 UN ...

    April 12, 2014