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It's Time to Get Our Nation Back on Firm Financial Ground


Location: Washington, DC

The American economy has reached a turning point, one that nobody but our enemies would wish for us to see.

Our national debt is now bigger than our economy. The debt is just over $15.5 trillion; the economy is about half a trillion dollars behind that.

This isn't the first time the United States has been in such a spot. The last time was after the twin catastrophes of the Great Depression and World War II, when the country's debt exceeded its output of goods and services for three years straight.

The House Budget Committee has drafted a roadmap to put the country back on firm financial ground. My colleague Paul Ryan, the committee's chairman, has led this effort with no encouragement from the White House. The committee projects we could eliminate the budget deficit in 10 years.

For some people, that's too long. For others, never would be too soon.

President Obama clearly has given up trying to bring the nation's expenses in line with its income.

His latest budget projects running deficits of half a trillion dollars for each of the next 10 years, by which time we could presume the president will have finished writing his memoirs, approved plans for his presidential library, and turned to perfecting his golf swing.

Meanwhile, the House Budget Committee's hundred-page "Path to Prosperity" has drawn a chorus of griping from the usual suspects, who complain that Chairman Ryan and his colleagues on the committee have conspired to pillage from the poor to boost the profits of the rich.

If the opponents want to pick an ideological fight, Ryan's not playing.

"Both parties share the blame for failing to take action over the years," stated the House Budget Committee's report.

The budget's rising tide of red ink comes from spending too much -- not taxing too little. Saying "No" is something we'll all have to practice because what drives the deficit is spending.

I voted Thursday (March 29) with the majority of the House in passing the Ryan budget plan.

Now, the Senate needs to act. The longer we wait, the more difficult our task will become.

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