Op-Ed: Opposing View: Get Financial House in Order
In the five full months since President Obama signed his stimulus bill into law, the number of employed Americans has dropped by 2,261,000, causing the unemployment rate to climb to 9.4%. In January, Republicans devised a recovery plan focused on getting Americans back to work. Instead of working together, the president and his majority party in Congress chose to go it alone, and pushed through a $787 billion spending bill full of pork-barrel projects and low priority programs, paying for it by borrowing from your children and their children.
One month later, Democrats passed a budget that ran up more debt than all previous presidents combined. Then they bought two car companies, and forced a national energy tax through the House of Representatives. Now they want to radically overhaul our health care system at a cost of well over a trillion dollars.
Such an unfocused rush does not square with the alarming fiscal projections that show this year's deficit will reach $1.5 trillion the largest in history. Over the next 10 years, we will face a deficit of $9 trillion, $2 trillion more than previously estimated. Americans see a disconnect between the president's agenda and their reality of leaner budgets, kitchen table cost-cutting and a tough job market. Some are beginning to wonder whether the president is trying to do too much or whether he is in over his head.
Struggling families and small businesses want common-sense solutions from their representatives. So let me suggest one:
Over $400 billion committed toward 'stimulus' will not be spent this year. Let's redirect that money to reduce the deficit and start to get our financial house in order.
At the time of the stimulus bill's passage, the administration argued that immediate action was needed to stop job losses and 'jolt' the economy in the short term. That means that by the administration's own metrics, this spending package has failed. We cannot afford to continue failed policies and make costly mistakes that pile debt upon our children. Instead, we should put partisanship aside and prioritize the way Washington spends your money. Putting an end to lower priority and sometimes wasteful spending and instead using those funds to responsibly pay down our debt is a good place to start.
Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., is the Republican whip of the House of Representatives.