Our Opinion: Time for sacrifice

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2005

The fact that federal funding likely won’t be available for many of the projects on Suffolk’s wish list should come as no surprise.

Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Chesapeake, delivered the bad news to city council Tuesday during a swing through the district. Among those projects are a $2 million downtown interpretive center for the Great Dismal Swamp, a new building to house the Health and Human Services departments, a new downtown post office and converting the old Phoenix Bank building into an African-American museum.

Congress and the Bush administration have slashed taxes and jacked up federal spending to the point that projects such as these stand little chance of being funded. In fact, not only will there be less if any money for niceties such as those on Suffolk’s wish list, but because of irresponsible federal fiscal policy and the ballooning budget deficit, we’ll be fortunate if the dollar doesn’t completely collapse. Some pessimistic economists are citing the fact that because of the irresponsibility, foreigners, particularly Asians, who fund the U.S. debt by amassing dollars, may not be willing to continue to do so.

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If that happens, look out.

Also, the country is at war and while we’d all love to see Suffolk have these projects and have other people pay for them, it’s time that sacrifices are made to fund our military endeavors. This has not been the case up until now.

With Americans dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, Congress has continued to fund pork barrel projects like drunken sailors, and that’s being unfair to drunken sailors who spending sprees stop when they sober up. This Congress has shown no signs of sobering up.

Rumors are now circulating that we might not even see the Iraq transformation through to the finish. In the face of polls showing that a majority of Americans think it’s time Iraqis fend for themselves, officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, are hinting at bringing U.S. troops home this year. The federal red ink no doubt will weigh heavily on that decision as well.

A person, or a nation, can only spend like there’s no tomorrow for so long. Tomorrow always comes and the bill has to be paid.