To the editor:
There are dangers if the American government pays its bills by simply printing more money. The dollar could lose its status as the global reserve currency and, given the nature of today’s economy, once foreigners start to dump their greenbacks, Americans will face massive inflation. A year ago, a bipartisan group tried to develop a plan to avoid this catastrophe. They were unable to agree, but still wanting to show that Washington was serious about controlling its debt, they settled upon automatic cuts and the revocation of certain tax breaks that would take effect at year’s end.
I was surprised then to read Mike Hoeflich’s flag-waving harangue about how this 12th-hour gesture at fiscal discipline would damage our military and harm the needy (Journal-World, Nov. 28). The U.S. spends more on defense than the combined military expenditures of all other major countries. Such fiscal profligacy has enriched the military-industrial complex but has weakened our country’s credit-worthiness. Indeed, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff claimed that the country’s precarious finances may be our greatest threat. And as a president from Kansas once suggested, every excess defense dollar deprives a senior citizen of a meal.
Defense cuts alone won’t balance the budget. Besides higher taxes, other programs will have to be cut to demonstrate our fiscal well-being. Then again, we could opt for the easy, short-term solution and continue to run the currency presses 24/7. When the day of fiscal reckoning finally does come, the cliff will surely be higher and more treacherous. We might be tempted then to use our military to help balance the books.