from U.S. Senator Rob Portman
Washington’s runaway spending and massive deficits must be stopped. In the past five years, federal spending soared by nearly $600 billion, doubling the national debt. The total national debt now equals $140,000 for every American household, and is growing steeply.
Despite the Administration’s promises, the big increase in federal spending has not led to a strong economy. In fact, we’re living through the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression: 20 million Americans cannot find full-time work, and millions more have given up looking.
Rather than continue expanding the size and scope of government, it’s time to expand the private sector. I believe in empowering families and small businesses, not bureaucracies and regulators. Trying to tax-and-spend our way to prosperity is a dead-end.
This is why I was so disappointed in the budget proposed by Senate Democrats. Don’t get me wrong, after more than 1,400 days since the Senate last passed a budget, I was happy to finally see Democratic leadership allowing a budget debate. However, the Democrats’ budget that passed continues to tax, spend, and borrow way too much.
Their budget begins by proposing one of the largest tax increases in American history– averaging about $10,000 per household over the decade. Combined with the fiscal cliff deal and new health care law, that brings the total tax increase to $3 trillion over the past four years. This is an enormous burden to place on a fragile economy, with businesses and families struggling to make ends meet.
There has been a lot of talk about the need for new revenue matched with large spending cuts in a bipartisan deficit reduction package. However, unbelievably, the Senate Democrats’ budget contains no net spending cuts.
Wiping away the gimmicks and measuring it against a realistic baseline, the budget increases spending by nearly $900 billion over the decade. It does so by repealing much of the spending restraint Congress and President Obama recently agreed to in the Budget Control Act, proposing a new $100 billion “stimulus” package, and expanding entitlement spending.
And that $900 billion figure may be low. While the budget would require that Congress move on its proposed tax increases, the few areas that contain spending cuts would be merely advisory. If they do not occur, the total spending increase could top $1 trillion.
For years, we’ve been warned that Social Security and Medicare are running out of money as a result of 10,000 new baby boomers retiring each day. Despite all of its new spending, the Democrat’s budget does nothing to reform and modernize these vital yet unsustainable programs. Under their budget, Social Security’s disability fund would run out of money in 2016. The Medicare trust fund would go bankrupt in 2024. Social Security’s fund for senior citizens would go bankrupt in 2033 – just twenty years from now – resulting in an immediate 25 percent benefits cut under law.
As a result of this taxing and spending, the Senate Democrat budget would add $7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. That’s more than $50,000 in new debt for every household. The interest payments alone would eventually reach $791 billion per year, or nearly as much as Washington spends on Medicare every year.
Overall, it’s more of the same taxing, spending, and borrowing that is pushing Washington’s budget perilously close to that of Greece.
My number one priority is job creation. That’s one reason I believe we have to deal with America’s record debt and trillion dollar deficits. Unfortunately, this budget makes a weak economy even worse. The Heritage Foundation estimates it will cost 800,000 jobs nationally, and more than 40,000 in Ohio. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has also written that continued increases in our massive debt will harm the economy and cost jobs.
There is a better way. We need to balance the budget over time by reining in spending and bringing back economic growth. And we can do it. It means belt tightening. It means pro-growth tax reform and it means smart changes to our vital entitlement programs so they will be there for future generations. It means growing the economy, not government.