This week, debate in Congress continued on a long list of proposals from both sides of the aisle aimed at cutting spending and getting our financial house in order. I've often said that Washington does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem, and I'm glad my colleagues are beginning to agree. I feel that as we look to make real cuts to rein in spending, it is important that we are cautious and do all we can to avoid harmful cuts to areas that we simply cannot afford to jeopardize, including protecting our seniors and veterans, and providing our children with a quality education. The harsh realities that we face require levels of sacrifice that we may not be used to making, but those who came before us know all too well.
After having lived through the Great Depression, the 'Greatest Generation' returned home from World War II, facing a somewhat similar scenario to the one we face today--a growing national debt and high levels of unemployment. Our hardworking, middle class families faced real sacrifices in order to weather the storm and avoid falling deeper into debt or financial crisis. While we were able to stave off early signs of an economic depression just two short years ago, we now face the daunting task of addressing the real problems that helped lead us down that road and further into economic uncertainty. We must make careful and calculated cuts to the wasteful practices our nation has unfortunately adopted. Until we further control our national debt and work to create and sell more of our Made in America goods, we are not addressing the actual crisis we face, a crisis that generation managed to overcome.
The last time our nation's debt was this high in relation to our gross domestic product, it was immediately following the end of the war in 1945. Our nation knew that we faced the tough task of rebuilding our economy, but that we must do so without making the same mistakes that could possibly lead us back to the Great Depression. As we work now to shift our current debt-to-GDP ratio back to more manageable and effective levels, one thing is clear--we face the same hard decisions and sacrifices that those before us faced. We must embrace their up-by-the-bootstraps approach of putting people back to work and lessening our reliance on foreign funding and debt. We can get our economy back on track by adopting the same willingness to sacrifice and live within our means that members of the Greatest Generation so proudly displayed.
As the 79th Congress convened in 1946, set to tackle the task of addressing both unemployment of our returning veterans and our serious debt concerns, they set a broad goal that I feel we must also embrace today--the goal of bringing America back to full employment and full production. They were able to come together, Democrats and Republicans alike, to send the Employment Act of 1946 to President Truman's desk to be signed. It established safeguards in times of economic downtown with a general goal of saving and creating jobs for American citizens and growing our domestic production to better compete in the global market. As we work to continue to stave off the economic depression we faced just two short years ago, we will find success by remembering what made us the global leader we are today--MADE IN AMERICA.
We must revitalize manufacturing, an industry that has long served as the backbone of our economy district-wide, and put our people back to work. I will continue to fight to protect our small businesses and working families, because as they find success, our nation finds success. Our government is capable of making real cuts to wasteful spending, but we must protect all areas that promote job growth, including helping to provide access to capital for small businesses and worker training and retraining programs. We can remain fiscally responsible and still provide basic government services and honor the promises we must keep to the people of our nation. We can continue to keep our nation safe, take care of our seniors and veterans, and do all we can to help provide our working families with an environment that helps to protect their livelihood and wellbeing and create a more prosperous nation.
Just as our parents and grandparents in the late 1940s came to realize, our nation is only as successful as our middle class families are. When we do right by hardworking Americans, I know that our nation is on the direct path to continuing the American dream and remaining the envy of the world.