When people say that we need a "balanced approach" to reducing our debt and being fiscally responsible, what I hear is: We need to balance what is true with what is false. We need to balance what is good for the whole country with what is good for a few super wealthy and powerful people. We need to balance the facts about how the economy works with self-serving fantasies of the the Koch brothers distributed by Fox News.
When I hear demands for a "small government" right now, I hear more Koch brothers, Goldman Sachs and Exxon controlling how we live, the air we breathe. I hear less We the People. I hear less oversight and accountability of powerful, multinational corporations. There is nothing wrong with small government as a matter of principle. In fact, I am all for limited government. Who wants unlimited government? Unlimited government is totalitarianism.
I do object to how "small government" is used to manipulate the public into justifying policies that hurt the majority of people in this country in favor of further enriching and empowering a few already very wealthy and powerful people. The truth is we have powerful individuals waiting to fill the vacuum left by government with greed and self-interest and calling it liberty.
Indeed, we have an entitlement problem in America. There are a few people who feel so entitled to power and wealth that they're willing to undermine our economy and democracy to keep them.
If I could have my way (and I would venture to guess, the majority of Americans' way as well), the national focus would be on creating jobs, not reducing the debt. Spending cuts would be focused largely on defense, and cutting social security, medicare and medicaid would be off the table.
Going forward, what I think we need is to invest in education and our crumbling infrastructure. We need jobs-training and job-creating programs with the public and private sectors working in partnership. We need to bail out people whose homes are underwater. We need debt forgiveness of student loans and medical debt. We need the government to use its power to bargain with the healthcare industry to bring down the cost of healthcare so that there is real access. We need accountability on Wall Street of those whose reckless and greedy actions led to the financial crisis. And most importantly, we need publicly-funded elections and a complete rejection of Citizens United.