Kingston sees report as "call to arms' to address nation's fiscal outlook
A non-partisan citizen watchdog today released a report painting a "daunting" projection for the nation's debt situation. In its latest update of the Long-Term Budget Outlook, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts explosive increases in the nation's debt which could further destabilize the American economy.
In response to the report, Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) urged quick action on measures to reduce spending and change the nation's fiscal trajectory.
"This report should serve as a call to arms when it comes to addressing our debt and getting spending under control," said Kingston. "Every day Washington fails to act, the situation gets worse and the solution gets further out of reach. We need immediate reforms that start with cuts today in order to change our fiscal future. This report makes clear that there can be no sacred cows and that the debt crisis is no longer something of the future, it's here now and it's killing jobs today."
The CBO's report confirms earlier findings of the Treasury Department that the nation's debt will exceed the size of the economy by year's end. In what it describes as a more likely scenario, the report finds that the debt will double the size of the economy in less than twenty-five years -- a fact it says imperils the nation's economy.
"Growing debt also would increase the probability of a sudden fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose confidence in the government's ability to manage its budget and the government would thereby lose its ability to borrow at affordable rates," the report reads.
The primary drivers of the national debt as outlined by the CBO are our largest entitlement programs -- Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid -- as well as the compounding growth in interest on payments on the debt.
According to the report, the federal government's interest payments are projected to increase ninefold by 2035. It also affirms that the health care overhaul passed last year fails to address increasing health costs. Mandatory federal spending is projected to increase by 86 percent over the next twenty-four years.
The CBO warns that, "the explosive path of federal debt underscores the need for large and rapid policy changes to put the nation on a sustainable fiscal course."
In May, Kingston introduced a plan that would do just that by limiting total federal spending as a percentage of the economy. The plan would gradually bring spending in line with historical revenues and balance the budget in just five years, faster than any plan introduced to date. If the Administration and Congress were unable to get spending within the limit, Kingston's plan calls for automatic, across-the-board spending reductions.
"It's simple and yet Washington always try to find some new way to balance the budget," Kingston said. "To balance the budget we have to stop spending more than we take in, just like families do every day. If the American people can do it, why can't Washington?"
Kingston's plan is quickly gaining grassroots support. Americans for Prosperity, National Taxpayers Union, Citizens Against Government Waste, Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens United, and Americans for Limited Government have all endorsed the plan. In fact, a recent Reason-Rupe poll found that seventy percent of Americans endorse the concept.
Kingston is hopeful that his plan will be attached to any agreement in the current negotiations over increasing the nation's statutory debt limit.