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Passing the American Dream to Our Children


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Leaving a better situation for our children remains part of the American Dream, but a recent poll by Bloomberg found a majority of Americans "are not confident or are just somewhat confident their children will have better lives than they have." Out-of-control government spending and the resulting national debt foster this pessimism. We can no longer afford to continue down this reckless path.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported the federal government amassed a $1.3 trillion deficit in the 2010 fiscal year alone. That brings our national debt to more than $13.6 trillion. If we continue to fund the Administration's costly proposals, we will double the public debt in five years and triple it in 10 years. All of this spending must be repaid with interest, and if we fail to act, the burden will fall to our children and grandchildren.

Years of Deficits Will Not Work

CBO projects trillion dollar deficits to continue over the next decade. Long-term deficits reduce capital for economic growth and increase our dependence on foreign borrowing. Currently, we borrow 41 cents of every dollar spent by the federal government. The budget experts at CBO and many independent studies warn that uncontrolled government spending threatens the fiscal health of our country.

How did we get here? Counting the failed stimulus plan, Congress increased discretionary spending by 84 percent from 2008 to 2010. In addition to the trillion dollar stimulus bill, this Congress passed an $896 billion bailout for Wall Street and a $100 billion bailout for U.S. automakers. I opposed the bailouts and stimulus plans because I did not believe the drastic government intervention and increased spending would solve our problems. Foreclosures continue to rise in Mississippi and across the nation, and the national unemployment rate still hovers near 10 percent. All of this spending adds to our exploding national debt without creating the jobs that were promised.

Passing on the Debt

The $13.6 trillion national debt is staggering. In May, the International Monetary Fund warned that the combined federal and states' debt would exceed our economic output by 2015. Spending beyond our means and adding to our growing national debt puts America on a dangerous path.

Paying down our debt is not just an economic priority, but it is also important for our national security. Nearly half of our debt is held abroad. China controls the most U.S. debt of any foreign nation followed by several other Asian countries. This mounting debt increases our need to borrow, leaving the U.S. vulnerable to foreign creditors.

A Start to Solving the Problem

A good first step to rein in spending would be to implement a spending freeze, forcing Congress to make responsible decisions. Simply put, we must stop spending money we do not have. One way to do that would be to implement the Sessions-McCaskill spending freeze, which would save $26 billion in just one year and $296 billion in 10 years. I voted for the freeze, but the Senate has failed to pass this important measure. While it will not solve all of our problems, the Sessions-McCaskill plan represents a start in the right direction. At some point, we have to stop digging in order to get out of the hole.

Economic growth will not come overnight. Instead of simply pouring more money into government programs, we should help foster a climate to unleash entrepreneurs and small businesses who are best positioned to create new jobs and spur private sector spending. Earlier this month, President Obama said he wanted to help build, "a brighter future where every child in this country has a chance to rise above any barriers… where the American Dream is a living reality." This hope rings hollow if the President and Congress fail to address the deficits and debt we are leaving to future generations.

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