Economy & Budget

Obama's proposed budget is the opposite of what the American people want

When President Obama delivered his budget this Valentine’s Day, the American people were looking for three little words: Cut our deficit.

Well Mr. President, this budget really breaks our hearts – and the bank.

The final product does the opposite of what President Obama seemed to focus on in the State of the Union, and the opposite of what Americans were hoping for: less debt and more jobs. The FY 2012 budget proposal continues to tax-and-spend, doubles the size of the federal government, and adds an additional combined $13 trillion to the federal debt over the next 10 years.


Time to make the difficult decisions our country needs

Last Thursday, President Barack Obama spoke in the Vandament Arena at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. The President chose this picturesque town in my district to propose more federal stimulus spending, something he now refers to as “investments.” The President’s stop in Northern Michigan was just one of many that his administration has been making lately as they try to sell a plan of “investments” for “winning the future.” Unfortunately, the only prize Americans will be winning is even more debt.

Families in Northern Michigan, like those all across the country, are trimming their own budgets. The government on the other hand, has shown no signs of changing its spending habits. While the President was in Upper Michigan, his Administration was putting the finishing touches on a $3.7 trillion budget that will result in record setting $1.6 trillion deficit. 


Foreign aid cuts jeopardize U.S. national security

America’s national deficit will burden future generations and hurt the long term well-being of our nation. That is why, as the stewards of our constituents’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars, Congress must always ensure that every cent we spend is absolutely essential. But we can never forget that in meeting Congress’ first priority – keeping America safe – there is no better value than the one percent of the U.S. budget that is spent on foreign aid and diplomacy.


Robbing the future

The message the American people continue to receive from President Obama and the Democrats is that more spending, taxing and borrowing are the only ways to grow our economy and create jobs. Yet after two years, our country still suffers with historic unemployment and the highest debt in U.S. history. Not only is our federal debt a clear and present danger to our economy and our security, but many fear that we are heading for a diminished future.


Opening up the dialogue

We are broke. 

The American people understand this and they are asking Congress to have an honest conversation about where we stand and how we can ensure that our children and grandchildren have the same opportunities we once had. Unfortunately, the Administration wants to continue business as usual and try to tax and spend its way out of this recession.   

It isn’t working.  


Budget cuts tap out safe drinking water

In all of the debate on Capitol Hill about cutting budgets, you wouldn't expect water to get a great deal of attention. But it should.

The Continuing Resolution set to emerge from the House this week makes drastic reductions in support for critical functions of the Environmental Protection Agency - the federal entity charged with protecting water supplies for hundreds of millions of Americans. But slashing the EPA's budget, without shifting legal and financial responsibility to polluters, will leave America's fisheries, drinking water supplies, and coastal areas vulnerable. No one else is guarding the door to the henhouse - quite literally, it turns out, when it comes to water pollution.


Budget is not an arbitrary dollar figure

The impact of H.R. 1 [FY 2011 continuing resolution] on the ability of the federal government to perform even some of its most basic functions is, in many instances, severe. The Constitution requires of the government that it ‘…establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...’. The House Republican proposal would undermine our ability to live up to these ideals, and do little to address the long-term fiscal challenges facing our nation.

There is no doubt that we must find a way to reduce our deficit and put America back on the path to a balanced budget. Part of the solution will be to eliminate programs that are no longer necessary, and to improve the efficiency of those that are. But many of the reductions proposed by the House were made not because programs were ineffective or wasteful, but out of desire to meet an arbitrary dollar figure cited during a political campaign. Many of the recommendations in this bill resulted from a ‘meat cleaver’ approach to budget cuts, when we should be using a scalpel – responsibly identifying specific programs that are wasteful or unneeded.


Our national budget crisis

The major victory by Republicans this last election is widely attributed to a call for fiscal restraint and reform. Further, many of my conservative colleagues have long been calling for the same, and remain committed to putting our fiscal house back in order. That said, more than a mere trimming back on discretionary spending is needed. Our financial house is on far shakier ground than just can be accounted for by waste fraud and abuse.

Did you know that in 2011, every discretionary dollar that the federal government spends will be borrowed? In other words, entitlement programs and the interest on our national debt will require every dollar that the federal government brings in as revenue. Did you know that in 2011, the federal deficit will be a record $1.5 trillion? To put this in perspective, that is over $4800 in debt spending this year alone for each and every citizen of the United States. It is clear that our nation’s budget situation is unsustainable and is a reality that will come to a shock to even many of those who have been calling for reform.


Our only option is to cut spending

The federal government will be running a deficit in excess of $1 trillion for the third year in a row in 2011. While many argue that raising taxes, particularly on high-income households, is necessary to reduce the deficit, the only real option in balancing our budget is to dramatically cut spending.

Over the past three years, the annual deficit as a percent of GDP has averaged 9.5%, and this is attributable to massive increases in spending and a dramatic reduction in revenues due to the Great Recession. However, the revenue reduction is only temporary. Even if the Bush-era tax cuts are allowed to continue, CBO projects that revenues will exceed the post-World War II average of 18% of GDP by 2021.

One of the most frequently discussed tax increases is raising the cap on Social Security taxes, which is currently set at $106,800, but there are several reasons why this is bad policy.


Credit unions are coming – and you’ll see and hear them

During the week of Feb. 28 – March 4, more than 4,500 credit union people are coming to Washington as part of the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) annual Governmental Affairs Conference.

If you work on Capitol Hill, you’ll be seeing them; if you work on K Street, you’ll be hearing about them.

It’s one of the biggest crowds we’ve ever had at our annual meeting. The overall message they will deliver: Credit unions are the as consumers’ best option for conducting financial services.