By Mike Kelley
Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) told a group of Huntsville small government contractors the nation is on a collision course with fiscal disaster if Washington doesn't begin paying attention to the growing national debt and other budget concerns.
Using charts and graphs to make the point, Brooks told a Thursday luncheon of the Huntsville Association of Small Businesses in Advanced Technology that the current budget situation of year-after-year massive budget deficits, and a national debt now approaching $16 trillion, is "the biggest problem we face."
"These billion dollar deficits are a threat to our country. The question is not if, but when we'll have to face up to them," he said, noting that Washington borrows 36 cents of every dollar it spends in FY 2011. "Of course, that's a slight improvement over last year, when we borrowed 42 cents," he said.
In a question designed to bring home the issue to his small business audience, Brooks asked "How many of you could stay in business for long if 36 percent of your operating funds were borrowed? But this is what the government is doing."
Brooks said the U.S. may headed for the same type of budgetary crises Greece and, to a lesser extent, Italy and Spain are facing. He said current interest on the national debt, at $221 for fiscal 2011, may skyrocket if worldwide interest rates spike. "We could be looking at $600 to $800 billion per year just to service the debt," he said.
Using an analogy he has employed in a number of recent appearances, Brooks compared the current fiscal situation in Washington to a family making $50,000 per year, but spending $80,000 and having a credit card bill of $320,000. "Most families would begin to feel anxious at this point, but this is where the U.S. has been for the past three years."
Calling national defense a "high priority," Brooks pointed out that half of the proposed cuts in Federal spending that resulted from last year's Budget Control Act are targeted to a national defense budget representing only small part of the Federal budget. "What we're doing is requiring the Defense Department to absorb half or more of the budget cuts, even though DoD represents only 17 or 18 per cent of the Federal Budget," he said.
Congress, he said, has not passed a budget in more than 1,000 days. "The Senate is dysfunctional to a large degree," he said, and said that none of the budgets proposed by Democrats "have even pretended to balance." Brooks excoriated the White House for proposing a budget calling for a $200 billion increase in spending "despite the mess we're in now."
Brooks, who has an economics degree, said it might take as many as five to eight years to balance the budget without throwing the economy into a tailspin. But he called for reform in the nation's entitlement programs, saying "we have to focus on those right now."
Citing a recent Small Business Administration report showing that regulations cost small businesses more than $10,500 per year in compliance costs, he called for regulatory reform and reducing the cost of doing business as a sound approach to addressing Washington's fiscal woes.
"We need to pass regulation to reduce these regulatory burdens. We have to fight that mindset that says more government controls on business are better," he said.