Our nation's spending is on an unsustainable path. Many Americans realize this and are asking when Congress will judge the price tag on new programs to be too high. When is the hole we are digging too deep for our children to climb out?
The spending binge will not stop if Congress continues to pass costly policies like the health care package, TARP bailout, and stimulus bill. The federal government should practice the same fiscal restraint that American families, business owners, teachers, farmers, and shrimpers, among others, practice daily.
The President's Excessive Spending
Our nation is burdened with an overwhelming $13 trillion debt. Budget experts estimate that the 2010 deficit will reach $1.5 trillion, piling more money onto the nation's credit card. President Obama's spending proposals, and the legislation pushed by the Democrats in Congress, only worsen the country's fiscal crisis.
The President's spending plan would double the national debt in five years and triple it in 10 years. By 2020, the national debt would consume 90 percent of our economic output, which would be the highest level since 1950.
Instead of scaling back and paying down the debt, the administration is tipping the scales with more spending. Since the President took office in January 2009, non-defense discretionary spending -- the money used to fund things like transportation, education, law enforcement, and the $1 trillion stimulus package-- has increased 84 percent. This is far from the fiscal responsibility needed to get our country back on track.
Democrats will not Offer a Budget
Most of us who run a business or a home in Mississippi know how essential it is to develop a budget to match spending with income. Unfortunately, Democratic leaders have denied Congress the opportunity to debate a federal budget, leaving our government without a blueprint for spending and saving this year. At a time when we have record deficits, a ballooning debt, and an administration unable to exercise any spending restraint, it is irresponsible for Congress not to set a federal budget.
Recognizing this grave situation, Senate Republicans at an Appropriations Committee meeting last week called on Democrats to join them in freezing non-defense spending at current levels. Democratic committee members unanimously voted against this proposal even though some of them previously had supported a similar plan.
We cannot allow spending to go unchecked any longer. Congress should adopt a budget that will put us back on the path to fiscal recovery. The TARP bailout program should be terminated, and all repaid funds should go toward paying down the debt. Non-defense discretionary spending should be trimmed to leaner levels, and any new spending should be offset with cuts to other programs. These steps may be painful, but they make common sense and can be done now.
The greatest threat to our economic stability is the spending on entitlement programs.
Our nation faces $77 trillion in unfunded entitlement obligations over 75 years, and these important programs -- Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid -- are running up debts at an alarming rate. Despite the already rapid growth, the President's budget would increase mandatory spending even more by $1.9 trillion over 10 years. Additionally, the President's health care bill creates another expensive entitlement program, further intensifying this fiscal burden.
We can protect these programs and reduce the deficit by focusing on ways to slow the growth rate. If we are serious about preventing a fiscal collapse, Congress should repeal the government health care takeover and reform entitlement programs.
Protecting our Children's Futures
The current administration's spend-tax-and-borrow plan will not clean up our financial mess. When the President took office, the federal debt averaged $84,700 per U.S. child. Under the President's legislative proposals, the federal debt per child will reach nearly $250,000 by 2020. If the reckless spending continues, the national debt will threaten the long-term stability of America. Interest rates will skyrocket, and investors will lose confidence in our government's ability to pay its loans.
We can no longer afford to pass along the economic problems of today for future generations to fix. Rather than burden our children with overwhelming debt, we need to protect them and give them the best opportunity for success. It starts by reining in the spending.