While things may be improving, the federal government has run deficits in excess of $1 trillion each of the last few years. Our national debt recently surpassed $15 trillion. If our debt was divided among the U.S. labor force, every single American worker would owe more than $100,000.
The interest alone on our debt currently sits at more than $200 billion a year. This is a hidden tax on future generations. Instead of investing in job creation, renewable energy, infrastructure, Social Security and Medicare, our children and grandchildren will be paying back the money with interest that we’re borrowing.
Also, as former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen said, our national debt is the single biggest national security threat facing our country. Much of our debt is held by foreign countries which do not share our values and are not our allies.
This is why I fought for pay-as-you-go budgeting (PAYGO). PAYGO ensures that the bills that Congress passes do not increase our debt. It requires that any spending increases or tax cuts be offset by cutting spending or increasing revenues. PAYGO was part of the reason we had a budget surplus in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, in 2002 Congress allowed PAYGO to expire. This, along with two wars, tax cuts and a new prescription drug program – all of which were unpaid for, coupled with the worst recession since the Great Depression, is the reason our nation’s debt is so large today.
We have to get our debt and deficit under control. The best way to do this is through a balanced approach that cuts spending, asks everyone to pay their fair share, and creates jobs.
We have to take a hard look at all government programs and make sure taxpayers are getting the most bang for their buck. We have to get rid of programs that aren’t needed, and if a program is needed we must make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible. For example, with information now available online, we were able to cut the Government Printing Office's congressional printing and binding service by millions of dollars. Many more cuts like this can be found.
Defense cuts also must be on the table. A strong national defense doesn’t have to be the most expensive national defense, and there are responsible cuts to be made. Last year, the Commission on Wartime Contracting identified more than $30 billion in waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s $30 billion that should never have been spent. We can find more areas to scale back, and we can do it without making any cuts that put a single American life at risk.
Next, our tax structure must be reformed so that everyone pays their fair share. Over the last 10 years, we have spent billions of dollars on tax cuts that weren’t paid for. These cuts were the number one reason that a trillion-dollar surplus turned into a trillion-dollar deficit, and that is why I voted against them.
We also need to invest in job creation. We will not reduce our debt without growing our economy. More jobs will mean more revenue and these revenues will help get our nation out of the red.
Though a balanced approach that cuts spending, asks everyone to pay their fair share, and invests in job creation, we can get our nation on a fiscally sustainable path.
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More on Fiscal Responsibility
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) voted today to pass H.R. 2029, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill. This measure funds the government for FY 2016.
“This bill is far from perfect but it averts a disastrous government shutdown, makes investments that help working people, and will benefit communities in our district,” said Thompson. “Next year we need to build on this compromise and avoid governing from crisis-to-crisis and cliff-to-cliff.”
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today voted against H.R. 2029, legislation that extends or makes permanent numerous tax provisions but isn’t paid for and would add upwards of $680 billion to the national debt. Those tax provisions made permanent include conservation easements, the research and development tax credit, Section 179 capital expensing for small businesses, and expanded versions of the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit for college expenses.
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) voted on Wednesday in favor of H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.
Thompson's office said the agreement raises the debt limit until March 15, 2017, and sets increased spending levels for two years by partially rolling back sequestration cuts by $80 billion, which will be split equally between defense and nondefense spending.
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today voted in favor of H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The agreement raises the debt limit until March 15, 2017, and sets increased spending levels for two years by partially rolling back sequestration cuts by $80 billion, which will be split equally between defense and nondefense spending.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today voted against H.Con.Res. 27, the House Republicans’ Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget resolution. The budget resolution passed by a vote of 228-199. No Democrats voted for the resolution and 17 Republicans voted against the resolution. The budget, if passed by the Senate would be vetoed by President Obama.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) today led a bipartisan coalition of legislators in calling on President Obama to protect local clean energy royalties from harmful budget cuts. In a letter to the president, Thompson and the lawmakers expressed their disappointment that geothermal royalty payments to counties were eliminated in the President’s recently released Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget. Because of the high burdens that geothermal production places on the counties where it is developed, counties currently share in the revenue of the federal receipts.
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today voted against the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 83) that includes numerous provisions that would put our economy at risk, hurt the middle class, provide funding for Syrian rebels to fight ISIL, and undermine the president’s attempts to address problems with our broken immigration system.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein are among those on Capitol Hill mounting an assault on corporate America’s rising reliance on minnow-swallows-whale mergers that permit corporations to avoid U.S. taxes by relocating overseas.
In recent examples of inversion, as the tactic is known, a larger U.S. corporation typically merges with a smaller European counterpart and moves its legal business address to Dublin or London or Switzerland. More often than not, the company maintains its U.S. base and does business as normal.
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today released the following statement in recognition of California’s Geothermal Awareness Day.
Lake County's House of Representatives members, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) and Rep. John Garamendi (CA-3), on Thursday joined a bipartisan group of representatives in voting against H.Con.Res. 96, the House Majority’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-1).
The budget resolution passed by a vote of 219-205.
No Democrats voted for the resolution and 12 Republicans voted against the resolution.
The Senate will not pass H.Con.Res. 96, and if they did, the president would veto it, the congressmen reported.