jeffersonpost.com

Federal budget conversation hits home

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx5th Congressional District

April 7, 2013

Republicans in the House of Representatives recently passed a balanced budget proposal. Democrats in the Senate, for the first time in four years, passed a budget as well.


Theirs, however, will never balance. President Obama is now two months late presenting a budget of his own, but has indicated his will not aim toward balance.


Balanced budgets are hard to come by in Washington, D.C. and families across North Carolina want to know why. That’s a fair question since cutting back and setting priorities is something families and small businesses do every day.


The most succinct reason for the federal government’s budget foibles is this: Washington has a spending problem.


Despite receiving some of the highest tax revenue totals in history, the federal government has been overspending by at least $1 trillion annually for the past four years. All told, national debt has increased from $6.1 trillion to an historic high of $16.7 trillion on President Obama’s watch.


Even with the $600 billion in new taxes the president demanded to avert the fiscal cliff, the federal government is projected to add nearly $7 trillion in more debt over the next 10 years. Such spending is simply unsustainable and must be corrected. But how?


Government spending can be divvied up into three categories: mandatory, discretionary, and interest. Many people do not realize that by far the biggest portion of the federal budget is spent on mandatory programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for which spending automatically increases, year after year. Interest, too, is automatically paid in full.


Without a willingness from Democrats to discuss future reforms to mandatory spending, Congress is left with only discretionary programs (including defense, agriculture, transportation, education, and natural resources, to name a few), amounting to about 35 percent of the total budget, to look to for savings.


That is a critically important point. Discretionary spending cuts are absolutely necessary, but not sufficient to balance the budget. Without reforming mandatory spending, which accounts for 60 percent of all government spending, deficits will be impossible to rein in and the national debt will continue to accumulate for our children and grandchildren to deal with.


Republicans, recognizing this truth, have offered a remedy that lays out our country’s priorities and ensures that both discretionary and mandatory government spending levels are responsible and consistent with the values of the American people.


By paring smart short-term savings with critical long-term reforms, the House Republican Path to Prosperity budget proposal will actually balance. It will responsibly rein in runaway overspending to the tune of $4.6 trillion over the next decade, strategically target waste, spur job growth, and boldly correct the structural weaknesses that threaten important government programs such as Medicare.


Unlike the President’s past budgets which have followed the status quo mantra “spend more, tax more, borrow more,” the Path to Prosperity makes the tough and forward-thinking decisions necessary to safeguard the future of America - and keep Washington from passing its burdens onto you and your children.


On April 15, I hope to continue this conversation with residents from the 5th District. At 5:30 p.m. I will be hosting a telephone town hall meeting to hear constituents’ questions and concerns about taxation and the country’s broader financial health. Reforms offered in the Path to Prosperity budget to address economic growth and the rising national debt will also be discussed.


Those wishing to take part in the telephone town hall conversation may do so by dialing 1-888-409-4380 at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 15. Additional town hall information may be found by visiting my website, www.foxx.house.gov/townhall.


The Path to Prosperity and the tax-laden Senate Democrat budget are both out in the open for your consideration. I encourage readers to take a minute or two to read about the Path to Prosperity on my website and find out why this budget plan is so essential to growing the economy, encouraging job creation, and delivering to the people, the government they deserve – one that spends their hard-earned money minimally and wisely.