Republican or Democrat, capitalist or socialist, one would be hard-pressed to find an American who does not see the need to reduce our deep federal debt.
But political infighting and a general disagreement about the government’s fiscal responsibilities among legislators has prevented any truly decisive action from being taken to fix the situation.
This conditioned apathy to legitimate action by our government shows how disconnected the citizenry has become from its own government, an issue that is a result of a gross deviation from the mission the Founding Fathers outlined.
Just an hour before a partial government shutdown was to go into effect, Congress passed a deal to cut $38.5 billion in spending while also allowing funding for the government through September 30. The budget passed the House with a 260-167 vote and the Senate 81-19, and could not have passed without bipartisan support.
But the deal is essentially just a stopgap measure; the budget will be an important issue for voters to pay attention to over the next few months.
The government has continuously tacked more expenditures onto the federal budget, providing benefits for many people but also leading to an ever-increasing national debt and serious economic woes.
Though expenditures on things like public education and social programs might seem necessary, they are often superfluous for the protection of the life, liberty and property of citizens.
We have become dependent on a government that has conditioned us to expect certain entitlements, a dependence that has essentially continued to steep us in debt and economic turmoil.
By cutting every dime of spending not absolutely necessary for the protection of the life, liberty and property of citizens, the government would essentially nip in the bud a repeat of our recent economic problems and allow the people to return to the more independent lifestyle our founders intended for us in the first place.
One cut that hits close to home for many USC students is the decrease in money given in Pell grants. This cut could force an adjustment in how students pay for college, and shows a return to a more economical government will not be easy.
People will have to adapt to changes in government spending that could cut their entitlements, but at the same time, the government will be allowed to do its job of protecting its citizens, without putting its hand in every aspect of our lives.
Such a massive limitation of government powers, while not desired by some people, is the only path that can return our nation to prosperity and prevent a further deterioration of our national and personal finances.
If we ignore this, we will only continue to suffer more and more at the hands of an overly partisan, ineffective government.
This idea will only increase in importance as we approach the 2012 presidential elections. Hopefully students will keep this in mind as the political campaigns continue to heat up this summer.
Candidates will propose their own preferences as to what spending cuts to make. But as the generation that will inherit these budget challenges, the more informed we are on these issues now, the better.
Sarah Cueva is a freshman majoring in political science.