After years of endless deficits, it’s time for Congress and the President to work together, and chart a course to fiscal sustainability.
share: f t
Only once in our nation’s history have we ever paid off our national debt. Today, after years of deficits and borrowed spending initiated by both political parties, our federal budget is on an unsustainable path. Since January 4, 2007, the federal government has run up $5.177 trillion in new debt. That is roughly equal to the total debt the federal government accumulated in the first 220 years of the nation's existence. Each year, the Congress and the President have an opportunity to put a stop to the accumulation of debt, which includes $1.2 billion of additional interest payments alone – every day.

On February 14th, the President announced his Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal which offers $3.8 trillion in spending this year - that is 25.3% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is the highest percentage of spending in relation to GDP since World War Two. In addition, his budget offers a $1.6 trillion tax hike on job creators, which makes it more difficult for businesses to put Americans back to work. In the midst of a debt crisis, offering a budget which projects a $1.6 trillion deficit while raising taxes on struggling families does nothing to address this issue.

The President’s recommendations for cuts and efficiencies in his proposed budget offer a starting point for a discussion. However, his cuts of less than $100 billion during the Fiscal Year are a drop in the bucket when we take into account the amount we overspend in our deficit. This year we are projected to spend $1.6 trillion more than we have. That means that the President’s proposed cuts don’t even equal 10% of the amount we overspend.

American families can’t run deficits like this and continue on without any thought as to how they’re going to repay their debts. The federal government shouldn’t operate that way either. We must take steps to balance our federal budget, just like American families do at their kitchen tables every day. After years of endless deficits, it’s time for Congress and the President to work together, and chart a course to fiscal sustainability. This includes returning spending to Fiscal Year 2008 levels. Trimming our expenditures to where we were prior to the bailouts and stimulus is an important step in the right direction.

Managing our debt is a priority because it not only imperils our fiscal responsibilities but also our national security. Burdening every American man, woman, and child with over $40,000 in debt, financed by countries around the world, such as China, puts us at risk. To continue to be a world leader in trade and maintain a defensive posture, we must show that we take our financial obligations seriously.

Going forward, Congress will have a bipartisan debate on crafting a budget which takes real steps towards eliminating the deficit, creating jobs, addressing our trade deficit, and prioritizing spending to ensure a strong national defense. Starting the conversation on a government which lives within its means and meets the needs of its citizens is one which will take input from both sides of the aisle. I look forward to working towards finding solutions to meet these goals as we move ahead.