Why can’t we use a little ingenuity?

Published 12:12 am Sunday, November 27, 2011

Last week’s announcement that the congressional “super committee” failed to actually do anything, let alone anything super, before its deadline should come as no surprise.

Congress not only lacks the ability to do much productive, but it also lacks ingenuity, too.

The committee had a seemingly simple goal: Sit down and develop a plan to cut $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years of federal spending.

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Now for most of us, the concept of a trillion dollars requires a bit of a Buck Rogers imagination just to consider how much money is involved.

So it’s important to put it in perspective.

Although the “trillion” adjective made the task seem monumental, what the committee was asked to cut was small in the grand scheme.

The super committee was supposed to cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years. During that same time frame some experts suggest the country will spend approximately $44 trillion. If that’s true, the “super” task was finding spending cuts equal to less than 3 percent of the total.

It’s fairly simple to put that in perspective for us. For each $100 we currently earn, imagine if we had to get by with $3 less. It doesn’t seem overly difficult, does it?

Yet Congress cannot get out of its self-indulgent, politically motivated way long enough to make the necessary changes.

That frustrates most Americans, likely including the 99 percent crowd. That’s the loosely based group that has been organizing the occupy protests around the country. The group has been complaining, but they haven’t been offering up much in the way of new ideas.

Couldn’t the 99 percent crowd’s time be better spent helping America rather than just complaining?

We need a reason for the regular Joe to invest in America. We must stop spending as much and start raising more money.

Frustration over this — along with some Thanksgiving travel windshield time — led to a conversation with my wife last week.

“Why don’t they just do something?” she asked.

That led to a little brainstorming.

What would happen if the folks in Washington started thinking like real American business folks?

What could the country do to raise more money without really raising taxes on anyone?

How much would Walmart, for example, pay to have their logos emblazoned on all the Social Security and Medicare paperwork distributed?

That’s probably worth a few billion dollars each year.

Add in all of the federal employees being forced to wear uniforms with a Nike or Reebok logo and we’d start getting into some real dollars.

But that’s only scratching the surface. Think about all of the things that only the government can offer and consider the ways the feds could profit from it.

How many Americans would buy a $10 lottery ticket for a chance to ride in a fighter jet, drive a tank or shoot a missile at a practice target?

How much could a chance to ride to the International Space Station raise?

Birthday party at the White House? No problem, if you’re willing to pay for it.

Critics may say that such nonsense is simply selling America’s soul.

But in reality, we’ve already done that to China, each time they buy U.S. debt.

As our deficit increases, isn’t it about time we make a decision to start working our own way out of it, even if doing so requires some unconventional means?


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.