Moolenaar: GOP budget approaches balance
Families in Michigan understand that we must tighten our belts when there is a change in our household income or expenses. This is a lesson Washington must also heed.
As a member of the House Budget Committee, I have worked to craft a budget that addresses our country’s fiscal challenges. While the president’s budget raises taxes, and never balances, our budget balances within 10 years and does not raise taxes.
Ten years is a long time to balance a budget, but it takes a long time to change the trajectory of our debt. From our nation’s founding it took more than 200 years for the government to accumulate $5 trillion in debt. In 2008, the debt was $10 trillion, and today it has skyrocketed to $18 trillion. Divided among 320 million Americans, a child born today inherits $56,250 in debt, or $225,000 for a family of four.
Ten years is also needed to honor the promises that have been made by the federal government. These promises to our seniors, veterans and our most vulnerable have locked mandatory spending into the budget. As a percentage of our economy, this spending has grown dramatically and now it crowds out funding for national security, medical research and programs to protect the Great Lakes. Mandatory spending alone in 2014 was $2.3 trillion, more than was spent funding the entire government in 2004.
This budget keeps the promises that have been made to our seniors and those near retirement age. It stabilizes and preserves Social Security by eliminating the double-dipping between disability insurance and unemployment benefits.
This budget reforms unsustainable government programs. It grants flexibility to the states on Medicaid, allowing them to craft their own health care programs for those in need. This change brings Medicaid closer to the American people it was meant to serve and further away from Washington bureaucrats.
This budget also enhances our national security. Admiral Michael Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called our national debt “the single biggest threat to our national security.” Over 20 percent of our debt is held by foreign governments. By balancing in 10 years, this budget ends deficits, and slows the debt that must be paid to other countries. With less spending needed for debt payments, more money can go toward national security.
This budget will boost our slow-growing economy, create jobs, raise wages and build a more prosperous America. This budget addresses our country’s fiscal problems in a responsible way, and puts our nation on a brighter path for our children and grandchildren.
Congressman John Moolenaar, R-Midland, represents Michigan’s 4th District.