The Washington Post

Frustration with Congress and the federal budget

Congress has seriously lost its way, and it has a terrible case of deficit spending disease that needs a visit to the emergency room or have a house call soon. Our lawmakers must now return to the basics and strive to adopt a balanced budget.

Kissel says we need less government spending on non-essential, “quality of life” investments. What do you think? (Marlon Correa/Post)

The daily damage caused by indiscriminate spending and lack of a budget is far reaching and incalculable. Confusion, frustration and disbelief describe the sentiment among small business owners like me.

Deficit spending, pork and special interests make us all less competitive. Small businesses are counting on Congress to lower our costs as a nation.

Let’s start by cutting back on government-sponsored optional quality of life expenses. Quality of life expenses include park expansions, museums, federal grants for projects that make the public’s life more enjoyable, scenic overlooks, beautiful buildings, staff parties, government travel and conferences, study of animal excrement, excess international travel, monuments, holidays with pay, government sick time, government employee benefit programs, celebrations and grants for the study of plants in foreign countries.

 Each and every expense should meet some criteria “acid test” as it is proposed. Why are we spending this money? Is there a return on investment (like technology, which ultimately can save money)? Does the investment pay for itself — like a bridge that improves commerce between two separated areas? The government would need to offer the American people an explanation of the benefits of the expense.

Let’s look at the population that receives public assistance in the form of food stamps, housing, transportation, training programs, welfare and unemployment subsidies. Ten percent of those on assistance — especially those who just barely qualify for it — should be dropped.

The government is taking care of more people than it should and employing too many people to serve them. 

Our policy makers have the power to turn the tide, and I encourage the 113th Congress to re-explore their purpose, get back to basics, bite the bullet and propose a balanced budget.

Ted Kissel is president and CEO of UNITEMP Temporary Personnel , a Hackensack, N.J., firm that provides short-term and flexible staffing solutions for small and large businesses. Kissel can be reached at .

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