America Must Choose the Path to ProsperityApril 11, 2011
America faces a significant challenge that we can no longer afford to ignore. Unless we take swift and bold action, our nation will collapse under the weight of our accumulated debt in our children’s lifetimes. This is economic reality, not political hyperbole.
While no one party is responsible for our current condition, there is no question President Obama’s reckless spending has pushed us closer to the brink. The President and the Democrat controlled Congress abdicated their responsibility to adhere to a budget. Without a guiding document to control them, they increased discretionary spending by 83 percent over the past two years.
The American people deserve to have a fact-based conversation on the budget. We deserve an end to the years of conveyor belt budget gimmicks that make irresponsible budgets look responsible. And we deserve an end to a government that borrows 42 cents of every dollar it spends. This unsustainable path stifles innovation and job creation through excessive taxation and overregulation.
On Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled the Republican budget proposal for FY2012; the “Path to Prosperity.” Where the President has failed to lead and respond to our fiscal challenges, Chairman Ryan stepped up and offered a plan that will cut $6.2 trillion and reduce deficits by $4.4 trillion. This budget proposal fulfills the promises House Republicans made to the American people to cut spending and end business-as-usual in Washington. But it does more: the Ryan budget defunds Obamacare, fundamentally reforms and saves entitlement programs for current and future generations, streamlines the tax code and reduces taxes.
Before the budget was even released we began hearing the same misinformed and misguided attacks against it from many of the same Washington leaders who helped create this mess. Never mind that many of these same “leaders” don’t have a proposal of their own and never mind that the past two years have proven we can’t borrow and spend ourselves into prosperity. It is time we finally put the sense-less rhetoric of the status quo behind us to start tackling the very real spending and debt crisis in front of us.
As the budget process moves forward, here are the principles that must be adhered to.
First, we must preserve Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for today’s seniors, but we must also strengthen them for future generations of retirees. It is clear we cannot sustain the current growth of our obligations in Medicare, and Medicaid. The President’s failure to act has placed these programs in financial jeopardy.
Social Security must be preserved for today’s seniors, but strengthened for future retirees. The Ryan budget makes no changes to Social Security for anyone over the age of 55. I repeat: no changes for people over 55.
Second, any changes to entitlements must be fair and equitable. The social safety net must stay in place for those in our society who need it most.
Third, we have to do more with less. We should give governors more flexibility and more authority to tailor Medicare to the needs of a particular state, instead of forcing states to conform to a one-size-fits-all big government solution.
Fourth, we cannot tax our way to a balanced budget or a stable Medicare and Medicaid. Raising taxes at a time when our fragile economy is beginning to show small signs of recovery would be a tremendous mistake and will reverse positive trends.
In the coming weeks, members of Congress will have to make important decisions on America’s future. Do we keep spending ourselves into oblivion and kick the can down the road once again on entitlements, or do we take a stand and preserve our nation for our children and grandchildren. We cannot be the first generation in history to give the next generation a weaker and diminished nation. I have faith that we will make the tough choices now to put America back on the path to prosperity and give America the bright future and solvency it deserves.