04/09/11 — Tough talk: Arguing over money, budgets, still not over

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Tough talk: Arguing over money, budgets, still not over

The strike has been averted.

Because of some late nights and a little bit of hair-pulling, Congress has come up with a plan that will keep the government operating through September.

So that means that for the next few months, we will not have to worry about a government shutdown and the ramifications of that sort of consequence.

But even though this latest problem has been dodged, that does not mean that the talk about the 2011-12 budget is over.

And it shouldn't be.

This latest agreement comes with $38.5 billion worth of spending cuts -- and considering the amount of debt the country is juggling now, that probably is still not even close to enough to turn the tide and get this country on the right path.

There will be more difficult choices ahead -- and some sacred cows that might get a hard look as some leaders try to keep their promise to get this country back to living within its means.

And even though it is easy to say "slash the budget," it is funny how when the actual time to cut begins, how many people are not sure they want to see cuts.

But we have to be tough.

Truth be told, this is a little tough love.

It is a realization that we cannot continue to spend money like there will be no consequences. We cannot ignore the fact that revenues might not support the kinds of services and programs we are used to.

We might have to cut back a little ourselves to make sure this nation is strong and viable for our children and grandchildren.

And none of that is going to be easy.

Over the next few weeks and months, we will hear a lot of gobbledygook from our legislators in Washington. We will hear scare tactics, false promises and other political dialogue that is meant to sway voters and polls.

Don't fall for it.

We can get this country back on the fiscal straight and narrow -- and still take care of the poor, make sure people have health care and educate our children. And we do not have to do any of that by crippling our armed forces, either.

All we have to do is put our priorities where they need to be, stand firm against pork that we do not need and demand that waste is stamped out and that cheats and others who are living off the government when they could be taking care of themselves are taken off the payroll.

You would surprised just how much of that is still going on -- in fact, you got a hint of it if you followed the story in this newspaper about federal officials pushing this county to take money for a project it simply did not need.

The economy will continue to be a topic of conversation in this country for years to come.

But what we need now is to remember the hard work that got us to this point -- and to strive to reward those who truly manifest the American spirit of a strong work ethic, ingenuity and a dream of a better life.

Our ancestors built a strong and noble country. Now we have to be the ones who protect it.

All we have to do is keep a close eye on Washington and demand that those who work there live up to their promises to do what is right, not what is easy.

That could be a full-time job in itself, but in the end, it will be worth the effort.

Published in Editorials on April 9, 2011 11:48 PM