By Representatives Scott Garrett and Jim Jordan
It would be both cruel and unfair to make a 7-year-old girl pay off $50,000 she had no part in borrowing. Yet President Obama plans to do that and worse in his newest budget.
We hear every day from people who want Washington to cut spending and stop borrowing from their children. President Obama either doesn't hear them or isn't listening. He proposes huge tax increases, yet his budget still never balances and the borrowing never stops. This is a path to fewer jobs and fewer opportunities. As the sorry state of the Greek economy proves, you pay for borrowing too much, either sooner or later.
The $50,000 mentioned above represents our national debt divided evenly among every single American, including senior citizens and second-graders. But in reality, the burden will not fall so evenly. As the years pass and the debt grows, the cost will fall more heavily on today's second-graders.
Last week, Chairman Paul Ryan and the House Budget Committee unveiled a plan to restrain spending and put the budget on a path to balance by 2040. This represents a vast improvement over President Obama's goals, and certainly over Senate Democrats, who have failed even to produce a budget for the third year in a row.
Even so, we join the many Americans concerned by the thought of waiting decades to balance the budget.
Conservatives in the Republican Study Committee hope to build on and improve on the Budget Committee's work. Our goal is simple: The federal government should stop borrowing from today's second-graders before they graduate high school.
Last year, the RSC laid out a path to balance in just nine years without raising taxes. Today, we take another step by making the tough decisions necessary to balance the budget in just five years. Our plan begins by freezing agency spending at slightly below 2008 levels until the budget balances in 2017.
A balanced budget will require a vibrant economy in addition to spending cuts. Entrepreneurs must have the confidence to begin new enterprises. Existing businesses need confidence to grow and expand. To provide this, and to reward hard work, our budget reforms taxes so that no American family or business will pay a federal tax rate higher than 25 percent.
We eliminate the death tax and alternative minimum tax, both of which punish success and stifle job growth. We also call a timeout on costly new regulations that are strangling businesses.
The RSC budget calls for unlocking America's energy resources, opening more areas to drilling, approving the entire Keystone XL pipeline, and removing unnecessary government rules that increase the price of gas. While oil and natural gas production boom on private and state lands, production has fallen in areas controlled by the federal government. Our economy will not meet its full potential until we fix this problem.
Our budget also looks beyond the short term to address the entitlement elephant in the federal budget. We repeal Obamacare in its entirety and introduce greater choice and competition to fight the rising cost of health care. In Medicare and Social Security, on which many Americans rely, this proposal makes absolutely no changes for people 55 and older. But to preserve these programs for the young, the RSC believes that Medicare should transition to a solvent "premium-support" system as proposed by the House Budget Committee last week.
Like Ryan's, our plan provides Medicare enrollees a greater menu of choices -- including staying with the current system. By harnessing the power of competition among private insurance plans and improving the quality of care, we put Medicare on the path to long-term solvency. Additionally, we strengthen Social Security by gradually realigning eligibility with Americans' increasing longevity.
The road to recovery has already been far too long, and our journey remains far from over. For this reason, we aim our proposals not only at balancing the budget, but also at restoring sanity in Washington, confidence in our economy and opportunity for our future. Our second-graders deserve nothing less.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is chairman of the Republican Study Committee, of which Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., is also a member.