Congress must address the looming debt crisis

As a business owner and the father of three kids, I am well-accustomed to fiscal discipline. In business, you have to pay rent, keep the lights on, and sign the front of your employees’ paychecks each month. As a business owner, you plan and stick to a budget, make more than you spend, and not max out your lines of credit. My wife and I instilled in our children these same common sense values. Unfortunately, these simple lessons are ignored in Washington, D.C. The swamp routinely kicks the can of reining in out of control spending down the road, saddling our children and grandchildren with more debt. 

Since the beginning of 2020, Washington has run an annual, record deficit of $3.1 trillion, adding over $5 trillion to the debt. The national debt currently stands at nearly $30 trillion. That works out to an astounding $227,000 per taxpayer. The reality is Washington’s out of control spending has created a debt crisis. Right now, legislative and executive officials are considering raising the debt ceiling again. This means Washington politicians are once again asking taxpayers to raise the limit on the nation’s credit card.

The risks of raising the debt limit and continuing Washington’s spending addiction are real. The country is already reeling from historic inflation, which eats away at the buying power of every American, especially those on the lower end of the economic ladder. Gas prices are up 42 percent. The price of beef is up 12 percent. The price of eggs is up nearly 10 percent. The price of chicken is up 7 percent. If you or your family are planning to take a long-awaited vacation, the price of hotels are up 19 percent and car rentals are up 52 percent. If you or someone you love is on a fixed income, they are no doubt feeling this financial pinch. The truth is, inflation is a hidden tax, and it’s caused by overspending from Washington. 

Washington’s endless spending risks triggering a debt crisis. Right now, our country is paying $376 billion in interest on the debt. That is more than we spend on the entire Department of Homeland Security, the agency tasked with securing our borders and responding to national disasters. As the debt increases and the interest payments balloon, it crowds out dollars needed for national defense, Social Security, and Medicare. 

There is a real, tangible risk if we continue along this path of a Bernie Sanders-style socialist spending spree. Republicans must hold the line and oppose both bills that make up the Biden-Schumer-Pelosi infrastructure package. Not only are both bills not paid for, as was originally promised, but they also include frivolous spending on items like bee-friendly landscaping and funding to combat weeds. The bills include costly mandates that shut out non-union businesses and drive up the already high cost of infrastructure projects. And worse yet, these bills put green energy handouts at the core of America’s long-term transportation strategy, prioritizing still untested and costly fuels over tried and true options that are affordable for middle class Americans.

So, when the Swamp inevitably begs Congress to raise the limit on the national credit card, Congress should do what any rational parent would do for their child and use this moment to force them to get their fiscal house in order. The longer we push off solving this problem, the closer our country comes to yet another crisis.

Budd represents the 13th District of North Carolina.

Tags Bernie Sanders Fiscal policy Government debt Inflation United States debt-ceiling crisis

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