News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Flashpoint

April 1, 2011

FLASHPOINT: Time to face U.S. spending head on

Last year, I campaigned on fiscal responsibility that would, in turn, spur economic growth and create an environment for businesses to expand and provide jobs. Having been in Washington, D.C., for only three months, you can rest assured that my conviction is just as strong now as it was then. I understand that families are still suffering from the prolonged recession and historic unemployment, which includes the labor force participation at a 26-year low. We cannot continue down this reckless path that will burden future generations with insurmountable debt.

Already, through an open process, I debated and voted to cut $61 billion in spending from Fiscal Year 2011 through H.R. 1; a measure rejected by the Democratic controlled Senate as cutting too deeply. What I reject is the status quo, which has led to our government borrowing 40 cents for every dollar that we spend. Families do not operate this way and the government can’t either. Over the past five weeks, I have voted to cut $10 billion from FY2011 spending through stopgap funding measures. This technique has been necessary due to the Democrats’ failure to pass a budget during the 111th Congress, the first time in modern history.

What we are doing cannot continue and is simply not enough. In order to address our spending problem, we must face it head on. It’s time our government cut up the credit cards and stopped spending money we don’t have. Immediately, we should cut waste and duplication from our federal government. On March 1, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office released a report titled “Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue”. The GAO identified 81 areas where the federal government could potentially save over $100 billion of taxpayers’ funds immediately. 

Fixing our economy and changing Washington, D.C.’s spending habits are not just short-term problems, but must be addressed now for long-term considerations. We want to avoid going down this path again, especially in the near future. Recently, in a speech to the University of Frankfurt in Germany concerning the nation’s plan to avoid insolvency, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher stated, “I think we are at the beginning of the process and it’s going to be very painful.” That’s the realization that we must face together, as a nation.

The way to avoid another crisis in the long-run is to address mandatory spending, made up mostly of entitlement spending. This means we’ll have to reform entitlement programs in a way that will ensure promises are kept to current and future seniors.

I often get asked for the solution and I often reply that there isn’t a “silver bullet” and that I don’t possess a “magic wand”. Solving our nation’s problems and fixing our nation’s ills will require cooperation, will take hard work, and may take time. I seek your opinions and thoughts when it comes to solving our nation’s fiscal problems.

I began this conversation over a year ago on the campaign trail and I look forward to continuing the conversation until we reach a solution.

Rep. Larry Bucshon, a Newburgh Republican, is serving his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives. His district includes Terre Haute.

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