MIKE HUCKABEE, HOST OF "HUCKABEE":This week, the Deficit Reduction Panel brought forth its recommendations to keep America from going underwater in debt faster than a Lindsay Lohan rehab stay.
What we have is the mindset in America of "everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die." Americans are rightfully angry and equally frightened that we've accumulated a national debt that's higher than Joan Rivers' plastic surgery bills. Most people with IQ above a stalk of celery recognize that spending has got to be reduced; yet naming specific programs for the chopping block is met with instant outrage that we are going to kill children, old people, and all the good dogs in America. The notion that Americans would also have to actually pay more for things they wanted, like highways that were drivable, and a military that could buy bullets is shot down because it would increase some form of our costs.
Look I don't want to see taxes increased and I don't think that's necessary, but I also know that unless we put our federal government on the fiscal equivalent of Slimfast, we can't afford what we have, much less what we think we need.
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the military are the traditional untouchables, but those items represent the real costs of the federal government.
I governed a state for 10 ½ years, and most people never realized that 91% of the state's general revenue budget was spent to do 3 things---educate, medicate, and incarcerate----schools, Medicaid and prison. We could have eliminated everything else in state government and saved only 9%.
Look I'm not suggesting that grind up the sacred cows of federal programs into hamburger, but neither can we keep spending more than we take in. If we don't raise the retirement age for Social Security, and maybe offer some one-time tax free buyouts for those who would rather live on their own retirement income, and rein in the runaway costs of Medicare, then we need to take a Rosetta Stone course in Mandarin so we can learn to speak the language of our new Chinese bankers who own our debt and might just soon own us.
We shouldn’t take the recommendations of the debt panel without question, but neither can we continue to provide an all you can eat government buffet for the price of a small order of fries. Without swift action, we'll go from land of the free and home of the brave to the land of the enslaved and home of the broke.
That's my view, I welcome yours. E-mail your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was a 2016 Republican candidate for president of the United States.