I believe in a country where the success of our future generations isn't limited by the debts of their parents and grandparents. We have an obligation to our children -- to their children -- to get serious about balancing our budget and reducing our debt and deficit.
To do that, we need a balanced approach that includes both spending cuts and targeted new revenues to reduce our debt. Every American household that struggles with a budget and every business that struggles with a balance sheet understands this.
The middle-class can't shoulder this burden alone, and I believe it's fair to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute their share. But in return for that additional investment, we need a real and responsible plan that will get our debt and deficit under control.
On the revenue side, there are a few things we can do right away. We need a tax system where everyone pays his or her fair share. That is why I support the "Buffett rule," which would ensure no household making more than $1 million each year pays a smaller share of their income in taxes than a middle class family pays. We need to end unfair giveaways, breaks and subsidies for big oil companies, corporations, and the wealthiest among us.
On the cost containment side, the first thing we need to do is control health care costs, which currently consume over 23 percent of the federal budget. Figuring out how to keep our health care system viable and affordable goes hand-in-hand with our economic recovery efforts. And that means defending the progress we've made with the Affordable Care Act. But make no mistake -- Medicare and Medicaid are essential to the health of our communities and the dignity of our seniors. The best way to protect them is to address the ballooning costs of medical services in the first place.
When it comes to Social Security, we must be vigilant in our efforts to ensure that it remains solvent for those who need it most. I will oppose efforts to privatize it and would work to protect it from unfair and devastating cuts.
We also can't be afraid to take a step back and look at this differently. Our country's deficit isn't going to evaporate overnight. We need to take a long, hard look at where and how our government can be more efficient and effective.