Fiscal responsibility starts with a sound budget
Mar 18 -
All across our nation, American families are taking a look at the money they have and budgeting to meet their expenses. They understand that it isn’t always easy to budget, but it is necessary. Yet, for too long big government advocates in Washington have insisted that our federal government does not need to live within its own budget, and years of government expansion and overreach have added trillions of dollars of debt and left our economy weaker.
In fact, our total national debt recently eclipsed the size of our entire economy, and, without action to reverse this trend and restore fiscal responsibility to Washington, our debt is a serious threat to the future prosperity of our nation. Our federal government was created by the people and for the people, and it has a moral responsibility to carry out its constitutional duties without bankrupting the American people.
Since taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, conservatives have acted on numerous occasions to reduce spending, eliminate waste, and put us on a path to a balanced budget. We have released and passed our budgets in the House each and every year, while the Senate has failed to pass a budget in over four years, and the President has failed to deliver his budget on time four times in five years in office. Their constant failure to meet their budgetary obligations is a clear indication to the American people that the current Administration and the Senate leadership are not serious about solving our fiscal challenges.
Fiscal responsibility starts with a budget. Last week the House Budget Committee, led by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, released the House Republican budget for fiscal year 2014. The House Republican budget cuts $4.6 trillion in wasteful government spending and balances our budget in 10 years, while also fixing our broken tax code to help our nation’s businesses invest and hire new workers, repealing Obamacare, and making commonsense reforms to our entitlement programs to strengthen these programs for current and future beneficiaries and ensure that the promises of retirement security made to the American people are not broken due to Washington’s fiscal irresponsibility.
Simply put, Washington can’t keep spending money it doesn’t have. Balancing the budget is a commonsense solution to our fiscal challenges that would also strengthen our economy spurring private investment and increasing productivity. Our budget cuts responsibly, while protecting key priorities like national security. It eliminates waste through anti-fraud accounts and returns federal spending to its historical levels.
Reducing spending and balancing our budget would not only save future generations from a massive debt burden, it would also provide sustained economic growth for years to come. According to analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, $4 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years would result in an additional increase of 1.7 percent of our gross national product in 2023. In a time where our economy has been struggling to grow at all, this increase would mean more jobs and higher wages for American workers, while also putting us on a path to solve our debt issues once and for all.
Our budget also includes a much needed overhaul of our tax code. American families and businesses must navigate a labyrinth of confusing credits, deductions, and phase-outs, and this complexity means that they are forced to spend more than $160 billion and 6 billion hours every year simply trying to comply with the tax code. The House budget would set the way for further work being done by the Ways and Means Committee to simplify the tax code by consolidating the seven individual brackets into two with a first bracket of 10 percent and a top bracket of 25 percent, reducing the corporate tax rate from one of the highest rates in the world to a commonsense system that allows American businesses to be competitive in the global economy, and reducing the amount of time and money that Americans spend just trying to file their taxes.
We know that tax reform will spur further economic growth and prosperity. In 1981, President Reagan came into office amid a stagnant economy with a mystifying tax code that included 16 brackets and a top rate of an astounding 70 percent. President Reagan made bipartisan tax reform a foundation of his economic policy. He reduced the number of brackets down to three and the top rate down to 28 percent, and our nation saw an unprecedented economic boom that lasted through the 1990s.
House Republicans also understand that we must act to reform our entitlement programs. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid have trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, and without reforms Americans will face a sharp cut in benefits that will put not only the solvency of our government at risk and our economic future, but also severely jeopardize the ability of the government to protect the promise of retirement security for current and future beneficiaries.
Health care costs in our country are growing, and currently average seniors receive $3.66 of Medicare coverage for every $1 that they contributed during their working life. But, this imbalance can be solved without reducing the quality of care to either current or future beneficiaries. Our budget does just that by preserving the current Medicare system for those in or near retirement, ending the raid on the Medicare trust fund, introducing means-testing for high-income seniors, repealing the health-care rationing board established in Obamacare, and making commonsense reforms for future generations that allow consumers, not the federal government, to drive innovation and competition in the free market. By offering multiple guaranteed coverage options for future seniors, including the traditional Medicare option, our reforms would drive health care providers to compete against each other to offer higher quality care at lower prices.
The Senate also released a budget of their own last week; however, their budget offers no real solution to our debt crisis and includes yet another $975 billion in tax increases and only $975 billion in deficit reduction. But, even the $975 billion in supposed deficit reduction, which is far below what our nation and economy requires, includes “savings” from winding down the war in Afghanistan and it also counts “savings” from emergency spending, like Hurricane Sandy relief, that are set to expire anyway. Our House budget does not use these flawed baseline gimmicks, which automatically assumes that we will spend money that everyone knows is set to expire. But, if you counted the House plan using the Senate’s method then our budget would include $5.7 trillion in cuts. And, on top of the tax increases and budget gimmicks, the Senate budget even includes $100 billion in new stimulus spending. The disparity between the savings in the House and Senate budgets, and the willingness of the Senate to use gimmicks to tout savings where none exist, is simply further evidence that Senate Democrats are more interested in raising taxes yet again than averting a debt crisis or ensuring the long-term solvency of our entitlement programs.
Our nation is facing many serious fiscal challenges that must be addressed to preserve the future prosperity of our nation and the solvency of our entitlement programs. The House Republican budget is a commonsense plan to put our nation back on a prosperous path through responsible spending cuts, an overhaul of our tax code, and entitlement reform that will preserve the hard earned retirement security of current seniors and ensure that future generations of Americans do not inherit a massive debt burden and a diminished economic future, while the Senate Democrat budget is simply more of the same big government tax and spend policies. Our budget is recognition of the obligation that Washington has to fulfill its constitutional duties in a responsible manner that extends opportunities for all Americans to use their God-given freedoms and liberties to pursue the American Dream.