Our national debt just surged past the staggering amount of $13 trillion. That's $13,000,000,000,000. Our country is now on a path to borrow an average of $1 trillion each year for the next decade, which is more than was borrowed from 1776 to 2000 combined. Just as our economy is beginning to turn around, Washington, D.C., is forcing more and more spending, leading to our ever-skyrocketing national debt.
All too often there is a tendency to overlook this simple fact: government does not create wealth and prosperity. While it might be tempting for the federal government to pass massive "stimulus" bills, it is the private sector - risk-taking Americans with the courage to pursue their own ideas and innovations - which prove to be the rock our economy's recovery is built upon. Entrepreneurs deserve our support and recognition as they work to build stronger local economies.
Nebraska and other rural states have seen a "brain drain' in recent years. As this depletion occurs, we lose our most vital economic asset to more populated areas. I am committed to reversing this brain drain by working to encourage rural investment and by recognizing those Nebraskans who have taken it upon themselves to help strengthen rural economies.
Recently, I introduced the Rural INVEST Act, legislation designed to help protect and revitalize rural communities by providing a tax incentive for businesses by accelerating the depreciation for commercial property in rural areas. The bill targets specific geographic areas where economic investment is falling behind. According to U.S. Census estimates, rural counties continue to suffer from a decline in population, even though the population of the state rose by 3.3 percent since the 2000 Census. Most of this growth was in the larger metropolitan areas or in communities along the I-80 corridor.
Allowing a greater deduction in earlier years will help attract new commercial businesses to rural areas and help revitalize communities. By empowering rural America to attract new investment and jobs, this bill will help communities retain and grow the workforce, as well as attract new employers to make these areas more competitive in the modern economy.
Now, more than ever, Nebraska needs those willing to invest in their communities -innovators and entrepreneurs, not government.
This is why I am again calling for nominations for the Third District Excellence in Economic Development Award. This award is open to individuals (including youth), businesses, and organizations which - through innovation, hard work, and entrepreneurship - have helped their communities.
The winning entries will be recognized to the U.S. House of Representatives and will be available, along with other notable entries, on my website after the award's conclusion.
I am continually impressed with the spirit and dedication of entrepreneurs in our state - both young and old -working to create opportunities. As our economy struggles to right itself, we should recognize and celebrate those who are creating jobs and strengthening communities.