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November 25, 2011     Post-Gazette
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November 25, 2011

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Page4 )OST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 25, 2011 LET'S BE HONEST: Congress Will Never Balance the Budget, and Knows Perfectly Well What that Means Let's just recognize some- thing: Congress is never go- ing to get spending under control. It doesn't want to. It is never going to balance the budget. It doesn't want to do that either. It only wants to create a convincing enough illusion of its attempt to do so that it can get itself through the current election cycle. And because the voters have thus bought tickets to this absurd theater act, and show no signs of doing otherwise any time soon, the problem is not going to be solved. Ever. It is par for the course that the congressional super- committee has failed to achieve the spending cuts that were allegedly its mis- sion. Monday following Sun- day is a bigger surprise than that. The nation faces more than $I0 trillion in new debt over the course of the next decade unless Congress does something drastic to change the direction of events. Congress will not do this. Congress does not want to do this. And why should it? The vot- ers reward excellence in the- ater more than actual re- sults, and members of Con- gress know this well. Con- sider: At the conclusion of the summer's so-called debt ceiling "debacle," it was an- nounced that the sides had agreed on $2.4 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years. The announcement was great theater because it by Dan Calabrese sounded like an achieve- ment. It was not. The $2.4 trillion, which would only amount to 15 percent of an- nual deficits anyway, will never be cut. All the two sides did was accept a theoretical long- term plan that is as fictional as Happy Days. Future Con- gresses will make their own spending decisions, regard- less of what anyone said in 2011. Then, more theater: We were told that a super- committee consisting o an equal number of members from both parties and from both houses of Congress would come up with a mas- ter plan to achieve far more deficit reduction. This was reported as a serious devel- opment. It was not. The supercommittee was never going to achieve anything. Its failure was not only pre- ordained but certainly known to be inevitable by every one of its members. Ah, you say, but what about the sequester - the automatic across-the-board budget cuts that go into ef- fect if the supercommittee fails? Surely you have seen by now the excellent chart cre- ated by Veronique de Rugy at George Mason University, which shows that spending with the sequester and spending without it are al- most exactly the same, es- pecially over the long term. The joke's on you, and al- ways has been. Here's the basic problem: In order to bring spending down to the same level as revenues, Congress would have to tell a whole bunch of people who have come to rely on federal support, benefits or largesse that they can no longer do so. Democrats ab- solutely refuse to do this. Republicans express willing- ness rhetorically, but as a practical matter, they are also unwilling because they shrink from the fight by which they would have to defend the cutting or elimi- nation of specific programs. The federal government now spends $3.7 trillion annu- ally, and almost no one in Washington really wants it to spend less than that. That's why the best they can come up with is a theoreti- cal 10-year plan that cuts the annual spending figure to only $3.4 trillion or so, but in reality does not cut it at all. This spending level will not decrease. Ever. But the federal govern- ment is only taking in $2.1 trillion a year. If you're not going to cut spending and their're not -- then the only way to stop taking on new debt is to somehow bring revenue levels up by $1.6 trillion a year or more. In addition to being almost impossible, since there are not enough millionaires and corporate jet owners from whom to confiscate that much money, it would also destroy the ability of the private sector to create wealth. (Continued on Page 15) 0 Boston Water and Sewer Is Coming to Your Neighborhood A Boston Water and Sewer Commission Community Services Department representative will be in your neighborhood at the place, date, and time listed here. Our representative will be available to: Accept payments. (Check or money order only-no cash, please.) Process discount forms for senior citizens and disabled people. V' Resolve billing or service complaints. V' Review water consumption data for your property. v' Arrange payment plans for delinquent accounts. Need more information? Call the Community Services Department at 617-989-7000. Boston Water and Sewer Commission 980 Harrison Avenue Boston, MA 02119. I by Sal Giarratani  .... Counting Your Blessings at Thanksgiving When it comes to the Thanksgiving holiday, it comes just in the nick of time. After we change the clock back an hour, after 4:00 pm it starts to look like 9:00 pm, or so it seems. The other day while leaving work, I joked with someone, I have about 20 minutes to wear my sunglasses before I don't need them anymore. As we get closer and closer to Christmas, daylight con- tinues to disappear until we drive to and from work in the dark. Lately the temps have been spring like but with the short days, we can't even enjoy it after work. It is at this time of the year, I once again understand what folks in Alaska go through with six months of night time. How depressing! The news out there is very, very depressing and at times we can all wonder what is good out there we wish to give thanks abou.t. All we read about or watch on TV is about horrible crimes, murders, violence, etc. The latest gruesome murders in Weymouth can make one sick. The police described the scene as something out of a horror movie. In Boston, the mur- der count keeps creeping up. Things never seem to change for the better. Violent movies, violent video games and violent life on the street. Thanksgiving and peace seem so rare; it probably should be listed as a special bulletin, huh? Back close to 40 years ago on television, there was a weekly TV hit called "The Walton's" about family life in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the Depression. De- spite all the terrible things lurking around that family, they always managed to gather together and thank God for what they had and not what they were missing. Today we don't even seem to have time to gather as a family anymore to do any- thing. Life has become too busy for us to appreciate it. There is still good to be thankful for around us. We need to spend less time wor- rying about the world and more time about ourselves, our families and all those we hold dear. Lately, I have been most thankful over having an off switch on my television so I'm not watching those fool- ish GOP debates or TV Speeches from Obama. The best way to stay upbeat and thankful is to help others going through hard times. It is about remaining optimis- tic and hopeful. When the Pilgrims started Thanksgiving, it was over mere survival. When they shared that tradition with the Native Americans near them, they did it for survival too. When those Native Americans shared their own meals together, it was (Continued on Page 13) "Tis The Season/ Ho / Ho / Ho / Mmry Christmas St. Agrippina DiMineo Benefit Society 17 th Annual Christmas Program for North End Children Only SANTA CLAUS IS COMING WITH GIFTS FOR ALL THE NICE BOYS & GIRLS. On Sunday, December 11  from 12:00 to 2:00 pm at St. Agrippina' s Chapel at 459 Hanover Street "k All who wish to attend, please call 617-363-2678 between November 22 "a and December 5 ". To confirm you must supply-your child's name, age, gender, address and phone number so that we can report to Santa's elves. Please, you must confirm no later than December $ t". All children 10 and under will receive a picture with Santa and a gift. Children must be present & accompanied by an adult. Also: Face Painting, Balloons, Characters, Gift Bags. Please bring a Camera! "k Saint Agrippina' s Christmas Program is for North End Residents Only. "VIVA ST. AGRIPPINA" Just a Merry Good Time