Good prescription, wrong malady

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According to a recent poll by CBS News, congressional approval is currently at 9 percent. Playing off the Occupy Wall Street movement, are you one of the 91 percent?
Of course, residents of South Carolina’s 5th District are only represented by three members of Congress, your two senators and one representative. The whole body of Congress is important in order to pass bills, but constituents here only have direct control over the three aforementioned voices that echo through the halls of Capitol Hill. The question is, are they conveying your voice? Are they truly representing you and your interests?
In recent weeks, I have read articles posted in the Carolina Gateway that call for blind support of your House representative and a personal call from U.S. Rep. Mulvaney to consider a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.
While the messages of the authors were well-intentioned, the ideas are seemingly at the wrong place at the wrong time. For instance, a new cancer treatment may have great effectiveness for warding off cancer, but not for treating other serious illnesses. Steadfast support for the leaders in Washington, D.C., and a balanced-budget amendment are good prescriptions, but for the wrong malady.
Those types of treatments are fine when the economy is humming along and things are going well. However, one check of the national unemployment rate at http://www.lcni5.com/cgi-bin/c2.cgievel and a couple of calls to friends and family members will prove that it’s certainly not the situation we are currently experiencing. There seems to be a disconnect between the problem and the proposed solutions of the leaders we sent to Washington, D.C., to be our voice. Perhaps the lack of a solid diagnoses and appropriate treatment plan is the reason for the 91 percent disapproval.
The explanation as to why a balanced budget initiative is the wrong policy to seek at this time relates back to the economy – your family, friends and maybe even yourself. With a national unemployment rate at 9 percent, restricting another potential customer from buying goods and services, in this case the U.S. government, eliminates yet another purchaser from our system. If the government draws back spending in the current climate, when consumer confidence is shaky and people are tightening their belts and paying off debt, the only way for the economy to go is down, and the only direction for unemployment to go is up.
I hope there is a day in the not-so-distant future when the United States can re-evaluate the national debt and decide to once again to begin paying off the balance. That day is not now, however. The 9 percent unemployment rate is our clear and present danger. We have to get those people back to work. If we pursue the American Jobs Act or public works projects, not only will a massive section of the unemployed begin pulling away from the social safety net programs, but they will also start providing revenue in the form of income taxes. Finally, the newly employed will have increased buying power, which fuels local private companies – leading to more hiring, more tax revenue, etc. The situation will begin to spiral up, as opposed to spiraling down. To borrow a popular business axiom, “we have to spend money to make money.”
When considering the escalating debt in the short term via government spending, the taste of the medicine may not be pleasant for now. However, it is the best course of action and will put the United States on the path to recovery.
In our current environment of 9 percent unemployment and 91 percent dissatisfaction with Congress, one major point – putting people back to work now – is the big difference.
Dr. Kenneth Idle is an Indian Land resident. He holds a doctorate in business, not medicine.