Making tough choices now saves U.S. futureThomas Jefferson once said: “I place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.”
By: By U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy , Superior Telegram
Thomas Jefferson once said: “I place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.”
At this moment we are staring at the most predictable crisis in our nation’s history — one that would make Thomas Jefferson roll over in his grave. Our national debt is $14 trillion and this year alone we will add another $1.6 trillion dollars on that heap of debt.
Americans stand at a critical crossroads: Will we act now and make the tough choices to avert irreversible damage to our economy? Or will we do nothing, continue spending, accumulating unsustainable deficits and become the first generation in American history to leave a less competitive, less prosperous and weaker America to our children and grandchildren?
This is the challenge of our generation.
Last year, Congress failed to pass or even propose a budget for Fiscal Year 2011 because they didn’t want to face voters in an election year with their bloated budget on record. Nonetheless, the voters spoke loud and clear and swept into office a new House majority that has changed the conversation from how much to spend, to how much to cut and save. This past week I voted for a continuing resolution that effectively cleaned up the mess left by the last Congress. Though it is an imperfect bill, it was the largest spending cut since World War II, and more importantly, it set the stage for a much bigger battle — the FY2012 budget, where trillions rather than billions are at stake. Indeed, the House Budget Committee’s “Path to Prosperity” would cut $6.2 trillion in government spending over ten years and actually puts the federal budget on the path to balance and pays off the debt.
Sadly, ever since the introduction of the Budget Committee’s FY2012 budget resolution, opponents have resorted to the oldest trick in the “political” book: Scaring seniors. The fact is, this plan does not affect today’s seniors, or anyone on the verge of retirement, 55 years or older. What this plan does do is reform the program for my generation and younger. In fact, inaction is the surest and quickest end to Medicare. Without reforms, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts Medicare will go bankrupt in just nine years. The House Republican budget actually saves Medicare for current seniors by reforming it for future generations.
Another important component of this budget is its call to keep taxes low so that the economy can grow. It proposes a flatter, fairer tax code that eliminates loopholes and lowers the top rate. We are competing — not against Michigan or Missouri — but against China, Canada and Korea. With this global competition, we need to make America more competitive and encourage investment here, not abroad. The real winners of a competitive business environment are our families and communities. We can’t tax our way out of our financial problems, but we can grow our way out by putting more Americans to work in sustainable, good-paying jobs.
Now, more than ever, we need leaders who care more about the next generation than the next election. I promised to bring Wisconsin common sense to Washington and to be accessible to you, the people I work for. In the coming months, I will continue to travel throughout our district holding town halls, “Coffees with your Congressman,” and even telephone town halls for those who prefer to join the conversation by phone. I am honored to serve as your representative in Congress and hearing from you is an important part of this job.
These are serious times and we need to come together to have honest, fact-based conversations about our nation’s fiscal problems and the competing plans to solve this crisis. I look forward to seeing and hearing from you so that together, we can turn 2011 into the year that America makes a comeback.
Sean Duffy represents the 7th Congressional District in Wisconsin.