Budget, Debt and Deficit
Our federal budget, with its recurring deficits and accumulating debt, is one of the most important issues we face today. American businesses and families work hard to spend wisely, to save for the future, and to invest in a more promising tomorrow. I believe American government should abide by the same principles.
While a decade of wars, costly tax cuts, and rising healthcare costs have left us facing unsustainable levels of debt and deficit, the solution is not to look backward and point fingers. We must look forward and work together to bring down our debt in a way that cuts wasteful spending, focuses on cost containment, and continues to invest in the programs and resources that create jobs and reinforce the strength and growth of our economy.
I believe that the only acceptable solution to our budget problem is a balanced solution: one that includes a mix of both revenue increases and spending cuts. Any approach that focuses only on quick and dramatic spending cuts will cut jobs along with dollars, losing sight of the fact that the driving force behind fiscal policy should always be long-term growth and prosperity for Americans.
The first step to deficit reduction is job creation. Investments in education and workforce training that get people back to work will pay for themselves over time as we utilize the full potential of our workforce and increase the base of tax revenue. But those investments must be paired with a responsible long-term plan to get our spending and deficit under control. I believe that starts and ends with containing health care costs. The skyrocketing cost of health care in this country remains the number one driver of our debt and deficit. Any credible plan to put us back on sound fiscal footing must slow the growth of healthcare costs without compromising the quality or accessibility of care.
Sequestration and other programs that balance the budget by slashing domestic social programs are deeply misguided. With non-defense discretionary spending accounting for less than 15 percent of the budget, it’s not our schools or safety net programs or scientific research endeavors that are running up unsustainable deficits. These programs are not the cause of the problem, and gutting them is not the solution. I oppose efforts like sequestration that hinder growth and opportunity while doing nothing to meaningfully reduce our deficit.
Federal revenues are far below their historic average and federal spending is far above its historic average as a percentage of GDP. We need thoughtful compromise to move towards a balanced budget, and we can start with bringing both revenues and spending back to levels closer to their historic averages. I support deficit reduction plans that are thoughtful, strategic, and mindful of the very real impacts that our decisions have on the lives of hard-working Americans.
More on Budget, Debt and Deficit
Tax Day is April 15, 2013. Check out the information below from the IRS to avoid common errors in filing your returns!
LAST-MINUTE FILERS: AVOID COMMON ERRORS