For far too long, Congress has lacked enough men and women of courage.
Many recognize our mounting federal deficit, the growing burden of a broken entitlement system and a tax structure that it unnecessarily complicated – and they’ve done nothing but close their eyes, plug their ears and kick the can down the road. In fact, Senate Democrats haven’t even bothered to pass a budget for more than 1060 days.
I commend Paul Ryan for breaking from Washington’s “business as usual” routine and creating a blueprint for how America can return to the path of prosperity. I believe the congressman is serious about tackling our challenges now, instead of risking our children’s and grandchildren’s futures by simply doing nothing.
Having said that, I would be a ‘no’ vote on the Ryan budget if I were casting a vote in the House of Representatives today. It doesn’t produce a balanced budget for decades – and that simply won’t work under our current climate.
I would support any budget proposal that adopted a serious approach to four major areas: deficits, taxes, entitlements and defense.
At 41 years old, I believe I have a responsibility to help Congress pass a spending plan that produces a balanced budget before I die. In our post-World War II society, federal revenues have averaged 18 or 19 percent of the gross domestic product. Therefore, we should target our spending at or near the same level.
Democrats, like our current congressman, believe that our government can continue to spend trillions more than it collects without consequence.
In fact, the House Democrats’ budget proposal – authored by Rep. Chris Van Hollen – recklessly raises taxes while producing endless annual deficits for decades to come! Congressman Owens and his colleagues aren’t even trying to pretend they care about anything our national debt. Their sole purpose is to punitively tax American workers and job creators so that they can protect our bloated bureaucracy. Their approach would have devastating consequences for our district, which is already struggling with 12 percent unemployment in many areas.
I strongly disagree that levying more taxes is the prescription for curing our addiction to spending. Congressman Ryan rightly recognizes that our tax system has become too convoluted – and I applaud his effort to simplify the structure and eliminate the corporate welfare that has been written into the code. Government must get out of the business of picking winners and losers, and that applies to our tax system as well.
I also believe we must develop a credible plan to restructure our entitlement programs. We know that the poorest among us will be hurt the most if Social Security falls into insolvency, but the Ryan blueprint offers no solutions.
I am committed to protecting Social Security for current beneficiaries – a large group that, incidentally, includes my own mother – but we should consider various changes that could keep the program viable for years to come. Similarly, Medicare is insolvent – and we need to enact structural reforms now if we want our future generations to have that safety net.
While I’ve long advocated for a strong national defense, my experience in the business world has taught me that no agency or business runs at perfect efficiency. I believe we should undertake a thorough review of the Defense Department to find programs that can be eliminated, scaled back, consolidated or improved. There are significant savings to be found – and they can be implemented without resorting to dangerous reductions in our ground force or our readiness procedures