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National Review Online - Thinking Outside the Box: Let's Lower the Debt Ceiling

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By Paul Broun

In the midst of our economic emergency, which is beginning to resemble a full-on Greece-style meltdown, every politician in America has taken to the soap box to say the exact same thing: We need to reduce our national debt and cut spending to get America back on track.

Unfortunately, Congress has produced all talk -- and very, very little action.

You hear folks say "talk is cheap," but in this case, Washington's endless rhetoric is incredibly expensive. The inaction on spending cuts has kept us so deep in the red that our nation is facing a total collapse if we do not get back to a balanced budget as soon as possible.

Today, I introduced a unique bill that goes in a completely different direction than everything else we've been hearing out of Washington. It would force politicians to start practicing what they've been preaching by lowering the debt ceiling from $14.3 trillion back down to $13 trillion. Admittedly, this is not your run-of-the-mill kind of law, but it would make it imperative for Congress to think outside of the box and come up with ways to pay off a portion of our debt while drastically cutting back spending. Since 1996, the national debt has increased by an inexcusable $8.79 trillion. I firmly believe that this calls for emergency measures to reduce the debt.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are equally responsible for the government's past fiscal irresponsibility. Sadly, whenever Congress has been given a chance to make a real impact on the budget, our spending habits, and our nation's livelihood, Democrats and Republicans alike have caved.

Moreover, in this time of crisis, liberals are pushing for a $2 trillion increase in our debt ceiling. And their only answer for our financial fiasco is to cut nothing and raise taxes on everything -- which would simply give Washington more money to burn through. Even more disturbingly, under the president's budget proposal, the debt would double to $26.3 trillion by 2021, and he has no intention or plan to pay it down.

Should my legislation be signed into law, Washington would have to get serious about making the cuts they've been talking about, and our national debt would be one step closer to being manageable. My legislation would not just slow down, or stop the reckless spending train; it would completely turn it around. To be realistic, we can't lower the debt limit today, but if we set a deadline, the beginning of FY 2012, it would force politicians to make those decisions in the months to come.

Americans are tired of lawmakers who talk out of both sides of their mouths and make promises that they can't keep. My one-of-a-kind bill offers a real and true solution for our fiscal dilemma, and I whole heartedly hope that my colleagues will either ante up -- or try their luck at another profession.


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