These days it is hard to avoid news about the so-called "fiscal cliff." With any bit of good or bad information coming from negotiations the stock market reacts. Democratic and Republican pundits repeat well-scripted talking points about avoiding economically destructive tax increases and spending reductions that are set to kick-in at the end of the month.
Over the coming weeks it will be essential for Congress and the White House to reach a bipartisan agreement that will avert the fiscal cliff and will put America's economy back on track. Failure is not an option. If nothing is done, across the board spending cuts will hurt senior citizens, middle class families, and every sector of our economy. Also, tax increases will put a huge burden on the backs of small business owners. However, it would be a mistake for Republicans to strike a deal that increases spending in exchange for higher taxes and the promise that we will cut spending down the road. If Republicans are going to strike a deal that raises taxes, then permanent spending controls have to be part of the deal. Anything else is a sham.
The real roots of our nation's financial problems are ballooning deficits. For the last four years our budget deficit has been over $1 trillion. With our national debt now exceeding $16 trillion, we cannot reasonably expect to grow our economy without first addressing deficit spending.
It is critical to our Nation's future that any legislation from the "fiscal cliff" negotiations includes a permanent limitation on the ability of Congress to spend money we do not have. At a time when the U.S. treasury borrows thirty-one cents of every dollar spent, America needs real reform that cannot be dodged, delayed, or punted to future Congresses. I have been a strong supporter of a Balanced Budget Amendment, or any constitutional amendment that permanently limits the ability of Congress to add to the Nation's debt. A permanent, binding, spending cap is the only way to truly restore fiscal certainty to job creators, to the global marketplace, and most of all, to the American people.
In the coming weeks I will urge leaders of the House and the Senate seeking a solution to the fiscal cliff to include a permanent and long-term solution as part of any solution to the Nation's spiraling debt. Middle class families, seniors from our Greatest Generation, and our children and grandchildren deserve a government focused on America's long-term economic stability.
With each passing day Congress and the White House have less and less time to reach a compromise that will produce a long-term plan for avoiding tax hikes on small business owners and automatic spending cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare. Despite some predictions, I still believe a bipartisan deal can be reached that will include a permanent spending cap and ensure future generations of Americans are not burdened with debt.