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, DC—Today, Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05) released the following statement upon voting for the bipartisan budget deal that passed by a vote of 240 – 186:
“Once again, the federal government shut down under a Republican-controlled House, Senate, and White House.
“This is not the bill that I would have written, but it is a bipartisan compromise that funds the government, suspends the debt limit, and outlines a budget path going forward.
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05) issued this statement following House passage of Republicans’ irresponsible tax bill:
“Today, I voted against the tax legislation that House Republicans have jammed through the House and that would affect each and every American taxpayer for years to come.
“They held no hearings. They heard from no expert witnesses. And they unveiled the final bill just one week ago. For something as big as rewriting America’s tax code, this process is wildly irresponsible.
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05), member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, released this statement following the passage of the Republicans’ tax bill out of the Committee:
“On Monday, we began a committee debate on the Republicans’ tax bill. There were no hearings, we didn’t hear from any experts-- we went straight to debate with a vote scheduled for today. This timeline and process are completely outrageous for something as big as rewriting our tax code.
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05) release the following statement about the provision in the Republicans’ tax bill that would repeal a tax law that would allow fire survivors to deduct uninsured property loss as a result of a fire:
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05) released this statement following the introduction of the House Republicans’ tax bill which would add trillions of dollars to our national debt:
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05), member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, issued the following statement following the unveiling of the Ryan-McConnell tax cut plan:
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.