America is facing an economic crisis. Our skyrocketing deficit, lost bond rating and lack of leadership in Washington are cause for great concern. We need conservative reform in Washington to turn things around. In Congress I will focus on cutting out-of-control spending, reforming entitlements and eliminating the culture of earmarks.
Congress' irresponsible spending has created major problems for Americans. For one, it has created a debt burden that our children will be obligated to pay off and if we don't take action, possibly their children too. My first priority will be to make sure Congress balances the budget without raising taxes, just like every family must balance its own checkbook. As egregious as running an exorbitant yearly deficit is, I find it just as disenchanting that the process of earmarking still goes on in Congress. In times of fiscal peril, Members of Congress should not be given the latitude to spend taxpayer's money on their pet projects. We must eliminate this practice that is a fundamental abuse of taxpayer dollars. If we don't eliminate earmarking, start balancing budgets and getting our fiscal house in order, we could put our credit rating in further peril, creating uncertainty in the economy and preventing an economic recovery.
We need to do more than rein in discretionary spending. We need to fundamentally reform the entitlement system in our country. We must keep our promises to the individuals that are already in the system, but we cannot continue on the same path for future participants. At current rates, federal spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is fundamentally unsustainable. If current spending continues, the government simply will not be able to provide these services in the future. Effective reform means restructuring these programs so that they can keep their promises to current enrollees, and continue to provide services to the next generation of Americans.
Taking on reform means making the difficult decisions. As a member of Governor Sanford's cabinet, I made executive decisions to cut wasteful spending on excessive staff and solved systemic performance issues in the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. These actions saved taxpayers money and improved the department's efficiency and accountability. I have fought for and achieved reform in public office, something Washington politicians seem incapable of delivering. We need reform in Washington and I have the experience to provide it.