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Local Editorials

Our view: Give specifics on federal cuts

Now that the confetti has been cleaned up, it’s time to hear from both presidential campaigns what exactly they propose to reduce the nation’s now $16 trillion federal debt.

Both sides claim to have designs to do so, but neither has shown the will to offer the specifics on their proposed cuts, particularly to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

Neither deficit clocks as displayed at the Republican National Convention nor lip service from the campaigns will address the federal deficit. If the will to share their specific plans on cuts isn’t with the campaigns now, how can voters expect that will to materialize once one of them wins the White House?

Neither Mitt Romney’s campaign nor President Barack Obama’s campaign wants to admit that sacrifices will have to be made to popular programs in fear of losing voters. But that’s a reality check that the whole country needs.

The U.S. now borrows 40 cents on every dollar it spends. And you thought your credit card interest rates were high? The national debt is at its highest point in five decades.

Either massive tax increases or massive budget cuts or some combination will be required in order to significantly reduce debt. Obama’s campaign largely ignores entitlement programs, while Romney’s plan talks of large increases to military spending and restoring hundreds of billions in Medicare cuts.

Without more details, neither side appears to be addressing the deficit in any meaningful way. Do they actually have no specific plans?

Meanwhile, the General Accounting Office says it expects federal mandatory, or entitlement, spending to exceed federal revenue sometime between 2030 to 2040.

Is that something this nation wants to put on its children or grandchildren because it’s politically expedient not to address it? We hope not.

And we’d hope our $16 trillion debt would be something that two men who seek the highest office in the land would have the courage to address head on.

We have stark reminders of this lack of political will closer to home, as state leaders in Springfield continue their failure to address an $83 billion pension crisis. It’s clear that Illinois’ elected leaders won’t touch this issue prior to the Nov. 6 election.

That’s irresponsible of Illinois officials, just as it’s irresponsible for the presidential candidates not to get into specific facts on their plans to reduce U.S. debt. There are still a couple months left in these campaigns and Americans are smart enough to realize there are some unpleasant realities ahead.

Voters don’t need to be coddled from hard truths, and a candidate worthy of the presidency shouldn’t be afraid to tell it like it is.

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