Last week President Obama spoke of fiscal discipline and promised to pay “for what we spent on my watch.” He went on to note correctly that “if we don’t take meaningful steps to rein in our debt, it could damage our markets, increase the cost of borrowing, and jeopardize our recovery -– all of which would have an even worse effect on our job growth and family incomes.” I was impressed and encouraged by the president’s remarks. Unfortunately, his actions did not match his words.
The president’s budget released today contains more spending, more taxes, and more debt. According to news sources, White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said yesterday that the White House would really like “to draw a line in the sand and enforce some discipline in the spending process.” If that is true, why is the Administration proposing a budget that more than doubles the debt, drives spending to a new record of $3.8 trillion in FY2011, pushes the deficit to a new record of $1.6 trillion in FY2010, and raises taxes by over $2 trillion through 2020?
Our nation is facing an urgent financial crisis. Today, the individual share of the national debt for every woman, man, and child in the U.S is $39,870. This debt is almost entirely comprised of new spending that our children and grandchildren will be forced to repay with interest. I believe it is time to stop spending our children’s future. As Thomas Jefferson prophetically observed, “Loading the nation with debt and leaving it for the following generations to pay is morally irresponsible.”
Elected officials in Washington must start doing what they say. If they promise to cut spending, then they need to cut spending. Common sense tells you that spending more to save more is not a logical fiscal policy. The president has said he will “continue to go through the budget, line by line, page by page, to eliminate programs that we can’t afford and don’t work.” As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I would urge the president to include Republicans in that process. Hopefully we can move beyond the rhetoric and achieve real savings for the American people.