The United States spends roughly $300 billion a month, 43 percent of which is borrowed. That’s not a sustainable spending pattern and isn’t a practice we should endorse by raising the debt ceiling without cutting spending. We need to cut spending and grow the economy.

That’s why tax increases are and should be off the table. As long as there are programs like AmeriCorps and subsidies such as those that prop up ethanol, we can afford cuts without raising taxes. Addressing the debt without raising taxes sends an important message to American businesses, which are hoarding cash but not hiring in large part because of uncertainty over the future of taxes and regulations, according to a recent report in The Washington Post.

The real refusal to compromise is coming from Democrats, who insist on a debt ceiling increase that will last through the 2012 election, in the hopes that voters will forget about their spending binge until after they’re re-elected.

All that accomplishes is kicking the can down the road while debt continues to pile up on our children and grandchildren. As Barack Obama himself said in 2006 when he voted against increasing the debt ceiling, America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

Michael Goodenough

Winthrop

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