By Senator Johanns
Though Washington can be a very divided town, there is one voice which often captures everyone's attention. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is widely regarded by Democrats and Republicans alike as an unbiased source in projecting the future impact of laws and policies. When CBO spoke last week in regard to a ten-year budget and economic outlook, it provided further evidence of the need to get our country's fiscal house in order. Quite simply, we're on a path previously untraveled, and we must reverse course.
CBO's report projects our country's deficit -- the difference between our annual expenses and revenues -- to be $1.1 trillion. This means our deficit will exceed $1 trillion for the fourth year in a row. To put that in perspective: before 2009, the highest deficit in any year dating back to George Washington was slightly less than half a trillion. Now, for four straight years, we have and will continue to double that -- and there is no end in sight to this dubious record.
There is no way around it; the policies implemented over the past four years are leading our country into financial crisis. Though we received positive employment statistics for the month of January, CBO projects unemployment to revert back to 9.3 percent in 2013, where it hasn't been since late 2010. It also projects federal health care spending to more than double in the next ten years.
We were told the new health care law was justified largely because it would bend the health care cost curve down; instead, it will double the financial burden of a country already financially crippled. Supporters of the law have said we must be patient to see its benefits come to fruition. Unless they're referring to a generational timeline, CBO's report suggests otherwise.
No matter how you slice it, the bottom line is our ruinous spending into oblivion must stop. It is well past time for merely talking about it, or thinking that simply raising taxes in a struggling economy will solve our problem. I am confident there are others in Washington who agree with me. CBO is ringing an alarm bell, and we must answer it. I will do everything I can and will work with whomever, regardless of party label, to rein in spending. For the sake of our future generations, we must.