Senator John Thune
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released its 2013 Budget and Economic Outlook. The report sounded the alarm on America’s financial future and made it clear that if the federal government fails to address the long-term drivers of our out-of-control federal spending, our national debt will continue on an unsustainable upward trajectory that will eventually consume our economy, slowing growth and hurting opportunity for American families and workers.
According to the report, the national debt is expected to hit $26 trillion by 2023—or more than $10 trillion over the next 10 years. According to the CBO, such levels of debt “would increase the risk of a fiscal crisis.”
Stifled by a national debt that just keeps rising, economic growth is likely to remain bleak and national unemployment levels above 7.5 percent through next year, according to the CBO report. If that happens, 2014 will be the sixth consecutive year that unemployment exceeds 7.5 percent of the labor force, making it the longest period of joblessness in the past 70 years.
Few in America would dispute the fact that these numbers are alarming. However, the divide in Congress is about whether to tackle the out-of-control national debt by increasing taxes on hard working Americans, or by making sensible reforms to control federal spending. According to the CBO report, the federal government’s tax receipts are projected to exceed what they have historically been relative to the size of the economy. In other words, Washington clearly does not tax too little, it spends too much.The only way to dig ourselves out of this hole and put our country back on a sound financial footing is to get spending under control. It’s not too late to enact meaningful spending reforms that would jumpstart the American economy, but Congress must act soon in order to prevent a financial catastrophe that will limit the opportunities for future generations of Americans.