Sean Duffy, the Ashland Republican who represents Wisconsin's 7th District said jobs and the economy, and the national debt remain among the top concerns expressed by district residents as he's traveled to counties across the district to meet with constituents.
By: By Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Medicare dominated the discussion as protestors confronted their congressman Monday over his vote for a plan by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, to cut federal spending by $6.2 trillion over the next 10 years.
However, the Ashland Republican who represents Wisconsin's 7th District said jobs and the economy, and the national debt remain among the top concerns expressed by district residents as he's traveled to counties across the district to meet with constituents.
As Republicans and Democrats battle over a budget proposal that would cut $6.2 trillion in spending over 10 years and remain at odds over how to best address the nation's $14.3 trillion deficit, the nation's economy continues to struggle.
Currently, 42 cents of every dollar spent by the federal government is borrowed money, Duffy said.
"We made our proposal in the budget for 2012 to cut $6.2 trillion in spending," the congressman said. "Since then, the president hasn't come back with a counter-proposal. The senate hasn't come back with a counter-proposal."
Without those alternative proposals to cut spending, Duffy said, there's nothing to negotiate when it comes to addressing the budget adopted by congress.
That has left Washington D.C. in a political brinksmanship over the nation's debt ceiling, not unlike the near government shut down in April.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has told Congress that without an increase in the $14.3 trillion debt limit by Aug. 2, the government will be forced into its first-ever default, with potentially catastrophic results for the economy, according to the Associated Press. A lower credit rating could ripple through the U.S. economy in the form of higher interest rates, hurting consumers still trying to recover from the worst recession in decades.
The current state of the national debt is going to lead to inflation, higher interest rates and punishing taxes to deal with the massive debt, creating uncertainty in the economy, Duffy said.
Like his Republican colleagues in congress, Duffy said the way to reassure financial markets and get the nation's economy back on track is to make cuts in federal spending.
"You can look to the federal government and try to spend our way to prosperity," Duffy said. "We tried that. It didn't work with the stimulus bill. It has never worked."
Duffy said to get the nation's economy back on track, it's going to require cuts in federal spending that threaten the nation's economy and less onerous rules and regulations that impede innovation and job creation.
"It's easy to say "I'm going to spend $1 trillion and we're going to create jobs,'" Duffy said. "It sounds great because you can say it in a sentence -- you can put it on a bumper sticker. That doesn't work."
Duffy said opportunity -- such as pursuing the nation's own energy sources -- is out there. Citing North Dakota's low unemployment rate, Duffy said the pursuit of the oil sands has created good-paying jobs in the nation, something he'd like to see happen throughout the nation.
"You look at energy as a whole," Duffy said. "It's a huge boon to the economy if we pursue our energy. It's a huge revenue source. It's a huge job source and it's a national security issue."