Consider for a moment the numerous families in recent decades that overextended themselves and built a heavy load of personal debt. What would you think if a debt counselor gave them this advice?
“Keep spending the amount of money you are spending. In fact, if something you feel is important comes up, spend more money. All you need to do to solve your problem is to limit new debt to a ‘sustainable level’ so your problem grows at a slower rate than it has been.”
Any right-thinking person would say this strategy is insane. And it would be the height of ignorance to think there is any hope this family would get out of debt. Yet, this is exactly the “solution” President Barack Obama gave to Congress when he submitted his 2012 budget.
As a member of the House Budget Committee, I was amazed to read in the president’s budget that his proposal will “stay on a path toward sustainable deficits.” But just like the family above, the president’s plan is irresponsible, is unsustainable, and will put our country on a path of fiscal destruction.
When I confronted the president’s budget director, Jacob Lew, about this problem, he attempted to place blame on the lap of the new Republican House. But let us recall, two years ago the president came into office blaming President George W. Bush for our financial woes.
Obama then, with the help of Democrats in Congress, increased federal spending by a huge 24 percent in a matter of two years, not counting his massive economic stimulus program. The failed ‘stimulus’ package ended up costing more than $1 trillion and Obamacare is projected to cost $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years. We now face the third year of $1 trillion plus deficits.
Obama promised to reduce that deficit in half by the end of his term in office. But his 2013 budget projects a $768 billion deficit. And even if we granted his outrageous assumption of a huge economic boom just around the corner, the president simply didn’t keep his word.
Despite multiple claims by the chief executive, Lew and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the president’s budgetary claims are simply another Obama dream.
The Republican House is offering solutions. In fact, we are already cutting the president’s 2011 budget on the floor of the Congress. House Speaker John Boehner allowed every member of Congress to offer amendments to the budget resolution with their ideas to cut federal spending.
Republicans offered amendment after amendment to cut billions of dollars in spending. I look forward to upcoming Budget Committee hearings in which we will offer long-term solutions — such as a balanced budget amendment — to wean Washington off its destructive path of fiscal irresponsibility.
If we learned anything from the election last year, it’s that the American people aren’t stupid. They know that America can’t borrow its way to prosperity. They know that perpetual deficits and an ever-growing tax and interest burden are unsustainable.
And they can’t believe an administration that dreams up budget numbers to match political promises.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp is a Republican who represents the First District of Kansas in the House of Representatives.