The politics of later

One of the most intolerable, if not irritating, words parents can hear from their children is “later.”

“I’ll clean my room later.”

“I’ll do my homework later.”

“I’ll call grandma later.”

“I don’t need to put gas in the car now. I’ll just do it later.”

It is irritating because parents know that later most often translates to not - rooms are left unclean, homework is unfinished, grandma is left waiting for the phone to ring. Later can also be dangerous - a car is driven on empty until it runs out of gas.   

Such is how the American people feel when the President asked Congress last week to once again raise the debt ceiling for an additional borrowing authority of $1.2 trillion. To a large group of the American public, raising the debt ceiling again is akin to saying “We’ll just address this debt and spending problem later.”

But the problem is that nothing really happens later. At some point later becomes now, and if we do not take action today, it will eventually translate to never.

To be fair, President Obama’s request is not the reason for our skyrocketing debt; it is a symptom of our skyrocketing spending. As a part of last year’s debt ceiling agreement, legislative language was included to allow the debt ceiling to be raised automatically 15 days after the President officially notified Congress, unless Congress voted to deny the borrowing increase.  I voted against this legislation last summer, in part because it put off what needed to be done then: cut spending.

The debt ceiling debate, and the President’s request for additional borrowing power, has become the epitome of a culture of “later” that continues to permeate Washington.

The Senate has failed to pass a budget since April 2009. (We’ll just pass a budget later).

Medicare spending is currently growing at a rate twice as fast as our nation’s economy is growing. (We’ll just address entitlements later).

Last week, the national debt hit the size of the U.S. economy (We’ll just address the debt and spending later). Only, this new increase in the debt limit will be the sixth increase since President Obama took office, resulting in a total increase of $5.1 trillion or a 45 percent increase in the debt limit. Furthermore, failure to address the nation’s debt could prevent the creation of up to 1 million jobs, using the Administration’s own economic models.

The politics of later is not working. Our debt and deficit problem in the U.S. has not gotten better - it has gotten worse. While some spending cuts have been made, there are gaping areas of our federal budget that must be addressed.  Failing to take action to cut current spending, restrict future spending, and improve federal budgeting will continue to worsen our nation’s fiscal condition.

This week, I cosponsored and voted for legislation to disapprove of an increase in the statutory debt limit of $1.2 trillion dollars (from $15.194 to $16.394 trillion) because I believe later is not enough.

However, I also believe we cannot just stop at disapproval. There are several ways I am working to address our nation’s fiscal situation now. I have made it a priority to see that we cut and cap spending and balance our federal budget. Here’s a look at some of my key priorities to return America to firm fiscal footing:

  • Fighting for firm spending limits. I have long championed the Balanced Budget Amendment that would force Congress to live within its means.  
  • Creating a consistent economic environment for businesses. I have cosponsored the REINS Act to help rein in burdensome regulations. Even a small 5% reduction in the federal regulatory budget (about $2.8 billion) would result in about $75 billion in expanded private-sector GDP each year.
  • Passing a budget that makes tough choices to cut wasteful spending and address entitlement programs, like the FY2012 budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, which I support.

These are just three ways that we can begin to turn later into today. Read about my additional work to cut, cap and balance our federal budget and help revitalize our economy, on my website.

Real accountability lies in the now, not when problems are swept under the rug and left to be addressed at a later time.  It is time Washington embraced the politics of now.

Comments

Mr Forbes it surprises me

Mr Forbes it surprises me that you mention Medicare when last year our nation spent $687 billion on defense. In 2009 Medicare grew by 8% ($502 billion) and is expected to grow by 6.9% annually through 2019. We have an aging population that relies on Medicare but its an insurance program we've payed into over our careers so shouldn't we receive the benefits? Really Medicare is just part of a much wider problem. Apparently our Federal government is not effective in administrating our nation. Whenever government steps in to set up a program like Medicaid or student loans or home ownership, the prices of those goods and services rise sharply. Its time the Federal government got out of the insurance business, brought our troops home to protect our borders and got down to its original tasks as set forth in our Constitution. We would save a lot of money, there'd be more jobs and general prosperity once more.

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