Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) released the following column today discussing the debt crisis that threatens our job growth, our national security, and our children's future. Full text of the column is included below:
"Over the past few months, the House Republicans have helped change the culture in Washington from one of weekly votes that increase spending to one of weekly votes that cut job-destroying spending. We have stood by our Pledge to America and began working to ease the economic uncertainty job creators face by eliminating wasteful spending, reining in excessive regulations and creating a smaller government. And while I wish that our work over the past few months was enough for me to confidently say that our federal government is on its way to being financially sound it is not. America is in a debt crisis and the new GOP majority is no longer going to allow for our ever-growing mountain of debt to continue to be overlooked.
"Our nation's debt currently stands at more than $14 trillion, which amounts to a $45,500 "birth tax" for every child born in America this year or $120,500 for every household. The Federal Government is currently borrowing more than 42 cents of every dollar it spends, much of it from the Chinese, and sending the bill to our children and grandchildren.
"As Erskine Boles, Co-Chair of President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, put it, "This debt is like a cancer it is truly going to destroy the country from within." America's debt crisis threatens our job growth, our national security and our children's future. Simply put, our debt threatens our very way of life and, without significant changes, the future of our country.
"The fact is that the federal budget is growing faster than the family budget's ability to pay for it. Thus, the first 208 days of this year will be paid for with tax revenue and the final 157 days will be paid for with borrowed money. But make no mistake; we have a debt crisis in this country because Washington continuously spends more than we have, not because our taxes are too low. While tax revenues are predicted to remain near historic levels in the coming years, spending is currently projected to rise to more than 80 percent of the economy, driving historic deficit and debt.
"While we hear so much about waste, fraud, abuse and duplication in Washington, our nation's retirement and health security programs, coupled with our debt payments, are the real drivers of our debt crisis. Contrary to popular belief, 62% of total government spending goes toward Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, or autopilot spending. This means that out of the $3.456 trillion in government spending for FY2010 only 2.1% of that went toward earmarks and foreign aid. The debt crisis that threatens our nation cannot be solved without addressing autopilot spending. Both parties need to agree on reforms that will strengthen these programs and ensure they are there for those who depend on them today and tomorrow.
"Social Security is growing much faster than we can afford to pay for because Americans are living longer and there are fewer workers paying into the system than those who are drawing out of the system. According to the most recent government reports, Social Security has a $7.9 trillion shortfall and Medicare is $30.8 trillion short of meeting its obligations. The unwillingness to address this growing problem has been going on for decades in Washington and both political parties are guilty of it. But historic debt leads to historic tax increases, which lead to more historic unemployment. This means fewer jobs for us today and fewer jobs for our children tomorrow. That future is not acceptable.
"We did not get into this mess over night and it would be disingenuous for me to say that we will get out over night. But the House Republicans are ready to take on the debt crisis in America and I hope that you will join us in the fight for our children and grandchildren's future. I invite you to be a part of a national solution, share your ideas, and help us educate the public about the crisis by discussing the facts with your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
"David Walker, former GAO comptroller general put it best while discussing our children and grandchildren's future when he said, "so much of their money will be devoted to keeping the government afloat that they'll have relatively little for everything else in life. Their homes will be smaller and drabber. There will be less to spend for cars, vacations, dinners out and big TV sets, all of which their parents took for granted." I believe our future generations deserve better and I intend to work toward that brighter future.