During his annual State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for a five-year freeze on discretionary spending. I appreciate the President’s recognition that limits must be placed on federal spending.
However, President Obama’s proposal fails to address overspending in any meaningful way; it simply locks in current spending levels with all the increases enacted during the 111th Congress under Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Over the last two years, spending has ballooned by eighty-four percent when taking into account the massive amounts of stimulus spending.
At the same time as our federal debt has increased dramatically, these massive hikes in spending have also failed to achieve the goal of creating jobs. In fact, we are entering our twentieth straight month of over nine percent unemployment. There is no reason to believe that continuing to spend at these increased levels for the next five years will achieve a different result.
It is time to change course, and rid our economy of an overreaching, overspending government that burdens the job creators in the private sector who we need to get our economy back on track.
Our national debt has surpassed $14 trillion, and our annual deficit for fiscal year 2011 is now projected to be $1.5 trillion by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. We must reduce spending because continuing at the current rates is both unsustainable and unacceptable.
In the last fiscal year, forty percent of all government expenditures were made on borrowed money, adding another $1.4 trillion to our national debt. If we are serious about getting our fiscal house in order, we must reduce and eventually eliminate that deficit.
Out of control spending and unsustainable deficits are one of the greatest threats to America’s future prosperity and national security. Failure to address these problems now will have disastrous consequences for our children and grandchildren who will be left with the burden of paying off the debts that we are creating today.
House Republicans are leading the way. In the first month alone, we have voted to cut Congress’ budget by five percent, repealed the government takeover of health care to decrease federal health spending by $400 billion, and passed a measure to save $35 million by stopping the unnecessary mandatory printing requirements of all bills. Most importantly though, Republicans have taken the first steps on the path of returning spending levels to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout, fiscal year 2008 levels – a move that will save tens of billions of dollars in the remainder of fiscal year 2011 alone. These measures represent a meaningful start toward reining in out of control spending, and creating the economic climate that will encourage private investment and job growth.
These first steps by the House of Representatives are a good start, but to be put into effect they must be passed by the Senate and signed by the President. I hope that President Obama will work with us to achieve our common goals of a sane fiscal policy and economic growth. To do this, we must significantly cut federal spending because the stakes are too high to accept a “budget freeze” that really means nothing more than the status quo.
U.S. Representative Geoff Davis