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No money, mo’ problems

Katie Palmitier | Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Over spring break technology dropped a massive bomb on me. Not only is my year-and-a-half-old Mac iBook on its last leg, but my iPod’s hard drive is damaged, and my dog ate my digital camera. No lie. She really did.

Needless to say, I am in dire need of some technological replacements. With the help of a gentle reminder from my parents, I unfortunately realized I am a little light on cash flow. Considering I haven’t received a paycheck since August, the bi-weekly “Rocco’s money” sent to me by Nana is spent – albeit very well – at Rocco’s and my birthday is not until October, I am going to have to hold off on replacing my beloved iPod and will just have to make do with my the-T-key-doesn’t-work-laptop for the time being.

Unfortunately, Babs and George Sr. didn’t give their son George the same gentle reminder my parents gave me before he decided to go to war. The United States was deficit spending before the war even began, constantly fighting the rising costs of Social Security and health care. While I sympathize with the President in making financial decisions, the difference between deciding whether or not to buy a new pair of designer jeans when your funds are already low and deciding whether or not to go to war with another country is stark. Perhaps the President rushed into making this world-altering decision, and perhaps he should have done some research before doing so.

If Bush had done a little financial investigating, he would have undoubtedly noticed that the United States couldn’t afford to go to war. America can barely afford to function as it is, relying too heavily on our China-issued MasterCard. And with Baby Boomers on the verge of eligibility for Social Security and healthcare, the country will soon be on a downward spiral towards bankruptcy.

While Social Security and healthcare are in dire need of reform, they are both necessary and manageable. The war in Iraq, however, has come to be perceived as not so necessary and quite unmanageable. Because of the current war and because of lack of funding, Social Security and health care have not received the attention they deserve during the shift of the Baby Boomers. The war is eating up the United States’ already limited funds, leaving social welfare, education and healthcare programs by the wayside.

Not only are Social Security and healthcare suffering from war costs, but post-war expenses are also being neglected. Many people fail to realize that we are going to be paying for these honorable soldiers long after their tour is complete. Soldiers are coming back with physical and mental healthcare needs, and those needs deserve the highest level of care.

So you may be wondering how we are going to pay for this. It’s obviously not going to come from taxes – taxes remain low despite the current rise in spending. While taxpayers may be happy now, their children and grandchildren will soon be paying for their stinginess. Usually when a country goes to war, all the citizens are in some way affected, such as through the draft or through an increase in taxes. American citizens have yet to feel the repercussions of this war. It seems unfair to have such a small percentage of citizens involved. But because taxes have not been adjusted and because there is no draft, many Americans remain unaffected. It would only be fair then, nonetheless rational, to have an increase in taxes during wartime. Higher taxes seem like such a small price to pay when soldiers are losing their lives and family and friends are losing their loved ones.

Eliminating tax cuts, however, will never happen. Not with this administration, at least. While already fighting declining approval ratings, a tax increase is unlikely to be seen. However, an increase in taxes could be the answer to the country’s financial problem. If some financial rearranging does not happen soon, you and I are going to be the ones suffering the consequences. My generation, as well as future generations, will undoubtedly be paying the costs of the country’s current financial insufficiency. Not only will we be paying off financial debts, but also a debt to society. Over the past several years, the United States has created many enemies, and it will be up to my generation to mend those broken relationships.

Along with occasionally reminding me of my poor spending habits, my parents always advised me to never bite off more than I can chew. While not completely broke, I just can’t swallow the price of a new Mac and digital camera right now. But in time, I will hopefully have Over spring break technology dropped a massive bomb on me. Not only is my year-and-a-half-old Mac iBook on its last leg, but my iPod’s hard drive is damaged, and my dog ate my digital camera. No lie. She really did.

Needless to say, I am in dire need of some technological replacements. With the help of a gentle reminder from my parents, I unfortunately realized I am a little light on cash flow. Considering I haven’t received a paycheck since August, the bi-weekly “Rocco’s money” sent to me by Nana is spent – albeit very well – at Rocco’s and my birthday is not until October, I am going to have to hold off on replacing my beloved iPod and will just have to make do with my the-T-key-doesn’t-work-laptop for the time being.

Unfortunately, Babs and George Sr. didn’t give their son George the same gentle reminder my parents gave me before he decided to go to war. The United States was deficit spending before the war even began, constantly fighting the rising costs of Social Security and health care. While I sympathize with the President in making financial decisions, the difference between deciding whether or not to buy a new pair of designer jeans when your funds are already low and deciding whether or not to go to war with another country is stark. Perhaps the President rushed into making this world-altering decision, and perhaps he should have done some research before doing so.

If Bush had done a little financial investigating, he would have undoubtedly noticed that the United States couldn’t afford to go to war. America can barely afford to function as it is, relying too heavily on our China-issued MasterCard. And with Baby Boomers on the verge of eligibility for Social Security and healthcare, the country will soon be on a downward spiral towards bankruptcy.

While Social Security and healthcare are in dire need of reform, they are both necessary and manageable. The war in Iraq, however, has come to be perceived as not so necessary and quite unmanageable. Because of the current war and because of lack of funding, Social Security and health care have not received the attention they deserve during the shift of the Baby Boomers. The war is eating up the United States’ already limited funds, leaving social welfare, education and healthcare programs by the wayside.

Not only are Social Security and healthcare suffering from war costs, but post-war expenses are also being neglected. Many people fail to realize that we are going to be paying for these honorable soldiers long after their tour is complete. Soldiers are coming back with physical and mental healthcare needs, and those needs deserve the highest level of care.

So you may be wondering how we are going to pay for this. It’s obviously not going to come from taxes – taxes remain low despite the current rise in spending. While taxpayers may be happy now, their children and grandchildren will soon be paying for their stinginess. Usually when a country goes to war, all the citizens are in some way affected, such as through the draft or through an increase in taxes. American citizens have yet to feel the repercussions of this war. It seems unfair to have such a small percentage of citizens involved. But because taxes have not been adjusted and because there is no draft, many Americans remain unaffected. It would only be fair then, nonetheless rational, to have an increase in taxes during wartime. Higher taxes seem like such a small price to pay when soldiers are losing their lives and family and friends are losing their loved ones.

Eliminating tax cuts, however, will never happen. Not with this administration, at least. While already fighting declining approval ratings, a tax increase is unlikely to be seen. However, an increase in taxes could be the answer to the country’s financial problem. If some financial rearranging does not happen soon, you and I are going to be the ones suffering the consequences. My generation, as well as future generations, will undoubtedly be paying the costs of the country’s current financial insufficiency. Not only will we be paying off financial debts, but also a debt to society. Over the past several years, the United States has created many enemies, and it will be up to my generation to mend those broken relationships.

Along with occasionally reminding me of my poor spending habits, my parents always advised me to never bite off more than I can chew. While not completely broke, I just can’t swallow the price of a new Mac and digital camera right now. But in time, I will hopefully have the resources. The United States, although already suffering from a severe deficit, can be capable handling the situation. We just need to take it one bite at a time. The more people become aware of and express America’s financial problem, the more likely change will take place, and thus the more likely current U.S. citizens and future generations will be saved from financial burdens.

Katie Palmitier is a sophomore political science major. She can be contacted at kpalmiti@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.