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Washington Times Op-Ed: The shutdown was a sideshow, the problem dwarfing all others is spiraling debt

October 18, 2013 in Politics & Elections

During the shutdown, 85 percent of government stayed open despite the hoopla reported in the media. Government is now 100 percent open. Debt-ceiling deadlines have been averted, but the real problem remains: a $17 trillion debt and a president who continues to pile on new debt at a rate of $1 million a minute.
The government shutdown occurred because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid allows the Senate to lurch from deadline to deadline without passing a single appropriations bill. Had he done his job and passed each of the 12 appropriations bills, the government could have stayed open.

Opening government has not resolved the big picture – a debt problem so large that it dwarfs all deadlines and threatens the very fabric of the nation. What remains is an unsustainable debt, precisely the problem that motivated me to run for office.

There was never any reason to shut down government. If both sides were willing to compromise, we could have found amicable solutions to these severe problems. But let the record state clearly, no significant spending restraint was accomplished because President Obama steadfastly refused to negotiate. Let us also remember his promise that he will negotiate as long as the compromises are outside of any budgetary deadlines.

We’ve heard this before, and I, for one, am skeptical.

When Mr. Obama, then a senator, opposed raising the debt ceiling in 2006, it was $8 trillion. Today, it has more than doubled to $17 trillion. If we are to survive this breakneck spending that has become the norm in Washington, it must be stopped and reversed. Many polls showed that Americans were fed up with both parties over the shutdown. A Bloomberg poll showed that 61 percent – 6 in 10 Americans – think that spending cuts should be tied to raising the debt ceiling. A Rasmussen survey and Fox News poll found similar results.

Americans want leaders who are willing to rein in a government that is completely out of control.

There are solutions. Perhaps we should not raise the debt ceiling without also enacting a balanced-budget amendment. Many states are forced to balance their budgets, and there is no reason the federal government cannot begin to do the same.

There is also the Penny Plan, which could balance the budget by cutting total federal spending by 1 percent each year for six consecutive years. Over a decade, overall spending would be reduced by $7.5 trillion.
There is no reason …read more


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