| October 28, 2010

The duty to right our politicians' wrongs is on the voter

A critical mid-term election is just days away. This election is really about one issue ─ out of control governmental spending. Just a few months ago, the federal government raised the debt limit from $12.4 trillion to $14.3 trillion in order to keep operating. Today, we are nearing $13.7 trillion in federal debt, once again nearing the upper debt limit, which undoubtedly will have to be raised again.

Our federal government taxes Americans unfairly, spends that money recklessly and then borrows from foreign nations when those dollars are gone, all to satisfy its never-ending appetite for spending.

This method of taxing, borrowing and spending recklessly cannot continue without unimaginable consequences ─ for today and for future generations.

America's economy will never sustain long-term growth if government spending continues to increase. Governments cannot create wealth; they can only redistribute it. Only the private sector can create wealth and spur sustained economic growth.

However, this present administration has accelerated federal spending exponentially.

Our national debt burden not only hurts our economy, it also weakens our stature in the world at a time that we need to “speak softly but carry a big stick” as Teddy Roosevelt said.

If we don’t make changes that reduce federal spending and spur economic growth soon we could soon find ourselves in the same boat many European countries are currently in ─ with massive debt burdens, exorbitant taxes and prolonged economic recessions.

That leaves the solution squarely up to us ─ the voters. Regardless of our individual party affiliations, it is time to put America first. No individual or family can live beyond their means for an extended period of time, so why should we let our federal government live beyond its means?

Our federal government certainly isn't the only one that has a problem with reckless spending. We face similar problems here at home.

Rather than making the hard choices when recently crafting the 2011 budget, the state Legislature responded to a $1.2 billion dollar revenue shortfall by filling holes with federal bailout dollars, new taxes on consumers and by emptying the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

For too long, we have recklessly spent state revenues during good times, only to find ourselves in a budget crunch when times are bad. You and I have a duty to understand the gravity of the situation. It’s time to put party loyalties aside and vote for those candidates that espouse the most frugal approach to running the business of government.

But the duty doesn’t end on November 2. After the election, we have an obligation to stay informed of state and federal issues and to hold the elected officials accountable to do the right thing for the common good rather than some favored constituency. Should they fail us, we have a duty to replace them during the next election.

Let us all resolve to do the right thing at the voting booth on Tuesday ─ if we love our freedom and the economic opportunities the American way provides, we have no other choice.

Paul Allen is co-founder of Advance Food Company in Enid, OK.

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