As most families operate their households in East Alabama, when the money runs out, the spending stops. In tough economic times like these, budgeting is necessary to stay financially afloat. But up in Washington, it seems the same rules do not apply.
Like previous presidents, President Obama is calling for an increase in our nation’s debt limit. Even with record Federal deficits, however, he calls for no further spending cuts to accompany that vote. Our economy can no longer afford that approach. According to the Congressional Budget Office, for the last two years, the budget deficit was $1.4 trillion and $1.2 trillion respectively. Our national debt is over $14 trillion and rising.
Over the past few months, many fellow Alabamians have shared their views on whether or not to raise the debt ceiling. Most are opposed when not accompanied with real spending cuts. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has made it clear, without a debt increase come August 2nd the United States could begin defaulting if the debt limit is not raised before then.
This week, the House of Representatives held a vote, as called for by President Obama, on raising the debt limit. This bill, H.R. 1954, failed to pass the House 318 to 97. This bipartisan rejection by the Congress of a debt limit increase without spending cuts sends a message that Congress must get serious about finding a solution to this crisis before it further weakens our economy.
After all, it’s about jobs. It’s about a stronger, more competitive American economy. The massive $14 trillion debt is growing rapidly, and in a few short years will become unsustainable. It could choke out job growth by forcing massive tax hikes, higher interest rates and lower consumer confidence.
Our great nation is at a crossroads. While I do not think Congress would allow the United States to default, which could harm our economy, I think Congress and the president should see this debate as a golden opportunity to help set our nation and government on a more financially sustainable path.
But we all need to have a serious and frank conversation about such a proposal. Every spending program must be on the table. We need to see how we can strengthen and secure entitlements like Medicare, so critical for our seniors, for current and future generations.
After this week’s vote on raising the debt limit, I think a clear message has been sent to the White House that Americans are sick and tired of the spending spree. More importantly, they want our economy to improve. Times are tough, very tough. It’s critical Washington gets its house in order so our economy can finally emerge from this awful recession less burdened by the weight of debt and unsustainable spending.