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Valley Perspective | PERSPECTIVE ON TAX CUTS

Family Values Take Precedence

We owe it to our children and future generations to balance the budget and pay off the national debt.

September 29, 1996|ALAN B. UNGAR | Alan B. Ungar is co-chairman of VICA's federal issues committee

Military intelligence and government efficiency, two of the better-known oxymorons, are now joined by family values / tax cuts.

The desire to nurture future generations, the one family value agreed on by all, is to tax cuts as oil is to water. We all want our children to have it easier than we have, to make sure they are safe from war and that they live in a healthy environment. And we want to make sure we have not burdened them with our debts.

Yet continuing to add to our national debt and increasing the amount of taxes required to pay the interest to support that debt is exactly what both major political parties are suggesting.

How can either party suggest cuts when we still have a $119-billion deficit, a $5-trillion debt and an impending demographic shift which, by 2012, will leave no money for infrastructure, education, defense or even to run the federal government because of entitlement and interest expenses?

All Washington knows of the looming financial disaster. Politicians are not stupid. They can read and they know what the bipartisan entitlement commission has foretold. Our politicians know that our kids and grandkids are going to suffer because of our profligacy and because of their desire to get reelected.

They are lying when they say they can balance the budget and cut taxes. They are lying when they say that the budget can be balanced without touching entitlements.

Is lying a family value? Is it a family value to knowingly hurt the financial security of future generations? Is it a family value to set it up so future generations will resent each other because those who are working will have to use 30% of their income to support Social Security and Medicare? Is it a family value to put this kind of burden on our kids? Not Even.

If we do not stop the financial bleeding caused by continued deficits, this is exactly what is going to happen.

The deficit needs to be eliminated. Each year for the next 30 years the cost of this year's deficit will be approximately $8.3 billion in interest. If the government were not spending that money on interest, it could help finance 147,000 new teachers. The Valley's share of this would be about 825.

It does not necessarily follow that more teachers would improve education, but spending money to help educate our kids certainly is in sync with "family values." Spending money on interest is not. Continuing to increase the burden of carrying our national debt is not. The hypocrisy of our politicians is disturbing, to say the least.

VICA--the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn.--agrees. This organization, representing more than 250,000 San Fernando Valley employees and affiliate members, recently issued a position paper on tax legislation. The essence of the position is that there should be no tax cuts until the budget is balanced. The method for financing any tax cut must be specified and concurrent. VICA does not support any tax cuts that are dependent on the future growth of the economy.

Will this position make a difference? The answer is yes.

VICA is a well-respected, nonpartisan organization and its voice and points of view are often heard and heeded in Washington where decisions are made based on public sentiment. With any luck at all, others are sending the same message.

When Washington politicians know that we want them to make the hard decisions now to protect future generations, they will do it. In the meantime the Valley response to family values and tax cuts is "gag me with a spoon."

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