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Dallas Morning News: Why the "Path to Prosperity' Makes Economic Sense

Op-Ed

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

By Jeb Hensarling

We are facing a spending-driven debt crisis. Our nation's debt is over $14 trillion, and we are borrowing nearly 42 cents of every dollar we spend. Children born today are burdened with $45,500 of debt they didn't create, and our economy is mired in historic unemployment and uncertainty because Washington spends too much -- not because the American people are taxed too little. Years of excessive spending have created a debt crisis that threatens job growth, national security and the economic security of future generations.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said, "The biggest threat we have to our national security is our debt." Dr. Douglas Elmendorf, head of the Congressional Budget Office said, "U.S. fiscal policy is on an unsustainable path to the extent that it cannot be solved by minor tinkering."

While the nation's fiscal woes began before he took office, President Barack Obama's latest budget ignores the crisis our nation is facing by clinging to a failed economic theory that our nation can spend, borrow, bail out and tax its way back to prosperity. Since 2008, Washington has increased the deficit by 259 percent in the name of job creation, and all we have to show for it is historic debt and near double-digit unemployment. Over the next decade, the president's budget would spend $46 trillion, borrow $13 trillion and pay $5.7 trillion on interest alone.

If we do nothing, historic debt will lead to historic tax increases, which will lead to historic unemployment. David Cote, one of Obama's own appointees to the Presidential Debt Commission and CEO of Honeywell, said, "The seeds of the next recession have already been planted. The debt burden accumulated over the next 10 years will sink us." Americans know you can't help the job seeker by punishing the job creator with higher taxes to pay off our debt.

The House Republican budget -- entitled "Path to Prosperity" -- offers Americans a better solution. First, we focus on economic and job growth by proposing desperately needed tax reform through capping and blocking President Obama's $1.6 trillion in tax hikes. We stop spending money we don't have by cutting $6.2 trillion in government spending and reducing deficits by $4.4 trillion over the next decade compared to the president's budget. One economic estimate says our budget would increase real growth of the economy by $1.5 trillion over the decade. In addition, our plan caps tax rates for individuals and businesses at 25 percent, providing certainty for job creators and spurring economic growth. Not only do we defund the president's government takeover of health care, we eliminate the roughly $800 billion tax increase imposed by the job-destroying law.

Our plan also addresses the true drivers of our debt -- autopilot spending on programs such as Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare. Through spending caps and strengthening our nation's health and retirement security programs, our budget focuses on creating a more effective, efficient and accountable government for future retirees while not changing those programs for those 55 and older. For instance, by transitioning Medicare to a premium support system for those 54 and younger, we allow future retirees to choose from a list of coverage options that best suit their needs. In other words, future Medicare recipients will be provided the same kind of health coverage options members of Congress and federal workers now enjoy.

Americans face a choice of two futures. The first is an America where our children drown in the sea of debt that we created because we chose to ignore the problem. The other future is one where we come together as Americans and decide that we are going to stop spending money we don't have.


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