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The Enquirer Journal - Myrick: Go big or go home

Op-Ed

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By Rep. Sue Myrick

Our national debt is approaching $15 trillion.

Our budget deficit for this year is $1.3 trillion.

The moral of this story: the government cannot continue to spend money that it doesn't have.

The Budget Control Act allowed for the increase in our nation's debt limit under two conditions: the creation of the Joint Commission on Deficit Reduction -- aka the "Super Committee" -- tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions, and that Congress vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment.

The Committee's November 23rd deadline is looming, and while many lawmakers have sent letters to the committee co-chairs with specific requests, I have just one: go big or go home.

Put everything on the table, and don't stop at $1.2 trillion.

I recently signed a letter, along with about 100 other lawmakers in the House and 45 in the Senate from both sides of the aisle, saying as much.

The letter, in part, reads: "To succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table. In addition, we know from other bipartisan frameworks that a target of some $4 trillion in deficit reduction is necessary to stabilize our debt as a share of the economy and assure America's fiscal well-being".

"Revenue' is a touchy subject, as it is often simply translated into "tax increases' on hardworking American taxpayers. Let's clarify: I do not think that increasing tax rates on American families is a solution to the problem.

Revenue can be increased by the sale of public assets, or -- as has been called for on both sides of the aisle -- eliminating major loopholes in our tax code.

It's no secret that our tax code is too complicated and tax reforms -- not tax increases -- can provide fairness within our tax system.

No matter what happens with revenues, we must begin to seriously address mandatory spending programs over the long-run. Washington has a spending problem, and no amount of increased revenue is going to fix that. Without action, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will consume the entire federal budget in our children's lifetime.

If no recommendations are agreed upon, mandatory, across-the-board cuts equaling $1.2 trillion will be implemented by January 2013.

Nobody wants this. It will not address the underlying problem: that federal government needs to learn how to effectively serve its purpose without recklessly spending taxpayer dollars.

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has an extraordinary opportunity to restore faith in Washington, D.C.

It remains to be seen what the final recommendations will be, but I hope that the Committee will take their responsibility seriously, and prove to the American people that righting our fiscal path is priority number one.

The time to act is now.

Sue Myrick

Member of Congress

N.C. 9th District


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