The Spending Spree is Over
by John Culberson on February 16, 2011 at 3:49 PM
As the debate over the budget begins, all sides must acknowledge one sad and inescapable fact: Every dollar Congress spends is borrowed money. More specifically, each of the $2.23 trillion dollars that the Treasury takes in this fiscal year will go directly to pay for entitlement programs and interest on our massive, spiraling debt. Worse still, the federal government will need to borrow $105 billion to cover existing obligations before the fiscal year has even begun.
The Obama Administration's profligacy - evidenced by a $3 trillion increase in the national debt and a nearly 50% increase in spending - has made the hole cavernous. The only way we can begin to dig ourselves out of it is to cut spending immediately and drastically, which is exactly what House conservatives have done.
In the first four weeks of the new Republican majority, the House has cut spending by $656 billion and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers announced the largest cut in discretionary spending in our nation's history. Compare that to the first four weeks of the 111th Congress, when the Democrat-led House approved $682 billion of new spending.
We cannot have any long term impact on the budget without cutting mandatory spending. Social Security and Medicare together are amassing unfunded obligations at the alarming rate of $6.5 trillion a year. The dramatic increase in the number of Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries coupled with the simultaneous decline in the number of workers paying into Social Security, not to mention the high unemployment rate, keeps money flowing out of the depleted Social Security Trust Fund. The path we're on is simply unsustainable.
And while there's still time to save the health care industry from shutdown due to the myopic Obamacare law, let's reverse it and implement sensible, effective health reform. The last thing we need in a period of severe economic contraction is massive government spending that weighs down the private sector, preventing job growth and innovation. Repealing this destructive law would save more than $2.6 trillion.
Making decisions on where and how to cut spending is a difficult but necessary first step in a long road to financial recovery. We need to fix our broken budget process and remove job-destroying regulations. While we continue to work on these fronts, the message has been sent. The spending spree in Washington, D.C. is over.
Member of Congress