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Detroit News - Miller: Nation needs entitlement reform, balanced budget amendment and more cuts

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By Detroit News

We all understand that our great nation is going through trying economic times.

Our national debt has exceeded $14 trillion and the federal government currently borrows 42 cents of every dollar it spends. We also have the problem of 9.1 percent unemployment.

For the last several years, the federal government has tried ever higher spending options to get our economy working, and all that has been accomplished is larger deficits and debt. Because of the federal government's overspending, we have even seen our nation's credit rating dropped for the first time in history.

It is clear big government solutions will not work.

The new House Republican majority was elected to change business as usual in Washington. No longer is the question how much more are we going to spend, but instead, how much are we going to cut? House Republicans passed a budget that cuts federal spending by $6.1 trillion and reduces our deficit by $4.4 trillion when compared to President Barack Obama's proposed budget. It puts us on a path to balance the federal budget, and pay off our debt. In contrast, Obama put forward a budget that was so irresponsible that it was defeated 97-0 in the U.S. Senate, and Senate Democrats have failed to even propose a budget for more than 800 days.

During the recent debate over raising the debt ceiling, we approved cuts greater than the amount the debt would be increased for the first time in history.

This bill was passed based on its merits because House Republicans have banned earmarks. It also includes reasonable cuts to defense for the first time in years. I will put my record on national security up against anyone's, but I understand there is waste that can be eliminated in the defense budget and nothing can be off the table.

The next steps include fundamental tax reform. I believe it is wrong that nearly 50 percent of all Americans pay no federal income tax and it is wrong that a company like GE can make an $8 billion profit and yet pay no federal income taxes simply because they have the right lobbyist. We need a fairer, flatter and more understandable tax code to promote economic growth and put this nation on a path to prosperity.

We must also continue to eliminate needless spending, and look at the area that poses the greatest threat over the long-term: entitlements, which comprises nearly half of all federal spending.

On July 11, Obama said "… if you look at the numbers, then Medicare in particular will run out of money and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up. I mean, it's not an option for us to just sit by and do nothing." Yet, President Obama's own budget plan offered no reform and his allies have offered nothing but misleading attacks designed to needlessly scare seniors. That must end.

The clearest path to enforcing spending discipline is a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution. No longer are the American people willing to stand idly by as Washington continues the immoral practice of piling ever more debt on our children and grandchildren.

All that is needed is the continued support of the American people to make these changes a reality and to give our children the same opportunities previous generations gave us.

Candice Miller is a Republican from Harrison Township.


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