The success of our economy hinges on how we handle our nation's increasing deficit.
Good governing is about making tough, but responsible choices to put our country's economy back on track. The budget deficit can only be reduced with a multi-faceted approach that includes cutting annual government spending, identifying additional savings opportunities and creating an equitable system that will balance the budget and forge a sustainable fiscal path for our economic future.
We cannot afford to do nothing -- or keep squabbling while millions of families continue to live on the edge. Just like a family trying to balance its household budget, we have to be smart about what we can and cannot afford.
I will work with both sides of the aisle to develop a sensible plan to balance the budget. I will work to protect those in our society who are most vulnerable. I will preserve critical safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare and others like Pell Grants that give everyone a chance at the American Dream. We must take a hard look at federal contracting excesses, our defense budget and tax loopholes that let companies get away with not paying the corporate income tax or ship jobs overseas without keeping any at home. We need to end subsidies to the oil and gas industry, as well as certain wasteful agricultural subsidies. Medicare must be allowed to negotiate for cheaper drug prices, like the Department of Veterans Affairs already does. We must make responsible, reasonable cuts to defense spending like unchecked defense contracts for weapons and other equipment the military does not need. I can speak with experience about the Department of Defense budget, which is the largest of any federal agency. As a member of the military, I have the first-hand knowledge needed to ask the right questions and push for better oversight of waste in runaway military contracts, while still protecting our military men and women and making sure they are well equipped and supported.
I believe the tax code should be rewritten so that the burden is divided equally and fairly. I do not believe we can ask working and middle class families, Veterans and low-income seniors to pay more taxes. It is simply not fair that local businesses and middle-class Americans pay their share of federal income taxes, but large companies exploit corporate loopholes and pay nothing. We must let the Bush era tax breaks for the super wealthy expire and ensure that multinational conglomerate corporations, many of which paid no federal income taxes last year, pay their fair share. We need common sense solutions like the Buffet Rule, which ensures that those who make over $1 million a year pay no lower tax rate than middle-income families. This would be a critical first towards deficit reduction while making our tax system fairer and more equitable.