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 – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) introduced his proposal to protect families who want to pass their farm or business to the next generation. The Family Business Preservation Estate Tax Act would create a deduction to allow families to pass their business onto their descendants as long as it remains with the family.
Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) released the following statement on his vote against repealing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act:
Washington – Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) strongly condemned the President’s proposals to cut basic services for our families and communities. The President’s plan builds on cuts he first proposed in his “Skinny Budget,” and it breaks his pledge to avoid cutting Medicaid and Social Security.
Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05)—senior Member of the House Ways & Means Committee—wrote about his goals for tax reform in The Hill.
“We can make our tax code fairer, more competitive, and more efficient, but it shouldn’t be done by saddling our kids with a ballooning national debt, “ Thompson wrote. “Nor should Congress make promises it cannot keep.
Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) voted for a bipartisan omnibus bill to avert a disastrous government shutdown. The compromise includes robust funding to treat and prevent devastating illnesses, maintain our background check system for gun purchases, combat the opioid epidemic, and more. It also blocked American tax dollars from being used for a border wall and prevented the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) released the following statement in response to the President’s recently unveiled tax plan:
“After months of promising to reveal specifics about the ‘biggest tax cut in history,’ the President sent out his Treasury Secretary to instead deliver a one-page outline. This is severely lacking in details. The only thing clear about this proposal is that the President is interested in giving himself and his wealthy friends a major tax break.
Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05)—Co-Chair of the Land Conservation Caucus—led an effort to support funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). In a letter to Chairman Ken Calvert and Ranking Member Betty McCollum of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Thompson called attention to the importance of our wetlands in preventing flooding, reducing damage from storm surges, and mitigating the effects of soil erosion.
Washington – Today, Reps. Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Paul Cook (CA-08) introduced the Earthquake Mitigation Incentive and Tax Parity Act of 2017 to exclude incentives for residential seismic retrofits from federal taxation. These earthquake mitigation measures are already tax-free at the state level in California.
Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05)—senior Member on the House Tax Subcommittee—released the following statement on the President’s budget for fiscal year 2018:
“American families deserve a budget that prioritizes their health, safety, and well-being. Unfortunately, the President’s budget outline slashes funding for medical research, affordable housing, infrastructure, disaster relief, and so much more.
By the Press Democrat Editorial Board
Pull any three political leaders or pundits together, and you’re likely to get five different opinions on the state of Social Security. But there’s only thing on which most agree — a fix is critical.
With 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day, the math doesn’t work on the continued solvency of the program.