Federal Budget Challenges Require Big Ideas PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business, Economy & Finance
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Monday, 28 February 2011 12:35

As the President said during his annual State of the Union address, America is a nation built on big ideas.

There’s no doubt our culture embraces the concept that bigger is better. From portion sizes served at U.S. restaurants to the homes we live in and the cars we drive, Americans like to live large.

Considering America’s expanding waistline and bulging budget deficits, bigger isn’t always better. Washington can’t seem to shake its cultural addiction to living high on the hog.

But more spending and more taxes are adding up to big problems. Consider the national debt. There's legitimate concern that by shouldering a $14 trillion-plus national debt, the federal government is on pace to overwhelm the credit market, squeezing access to affordable credit for the private sector and state/municipal borrowers. Servicing the national debt eats up scarce resources. Reckless federal spending is irresponsible and unsustainable. Washington cannot spend its way back to prosperity.

The voters sent a clear message to political leaders in November: Enough is enough.

But when the President in February unveiled his budget proposal, he squandered a big opportunity to lead. Ignoring a basic law of gravity that says “what goes up, must come down,” the President sided with the gravitational pull of expediency.

Arguing his budget proposal uses a scalpel instead of a machete to address the federal deficit, the President disappointingly didn’t embrace his own State of the Union message.

Instead of using the Presidential bully pulpit to build a national consensus regarding entitlement reform, the President’s budget ignored the fundamental issue that will drive America year after year into ditch after ditch of deficits. If we don’t change course, the whopping $14 trillion national debt will balloon to $26 trillion in the next decade.

Regrettably, the President effectively rejected months of collaboration produced by his own bipartisan deficit commission. It’s little wonder why public cynicism grows when elected leaders punt issues to an appointed commission and then relegate its report to collect dust on the shelf.

In January the President called upon Congress and the American people to think big and make the 21st century America’s best one yet. The American people can “out-innovate, out-educate and out-build” the best of the best, but the federal government needs to get out of the way.

Since the era of Manifest Destiny, when the promise of prosperity and the pursuit of happiness put fire in the bellies of pioneers, homesteaders, miners and missionaries, Americans have tested their mettle, employing brain and brawn, to create their fortunes and control their own destiny.

In the 21st century, technology and innovation have reshaped the economic landscape. Big thinkers in America have helped drive a digital revolution that has changed the way the world goes ’round, from commerce to communication to cultural and even political revolutions. Our entrepreneurs, inventors, engineers, scientists and investors are ready to seize their moment to achieve prosperity and live the American dream.

Washington needs to think big. Baby steps won’t get us there in time. Washington can help “win the future” by taking giant steps that will address entitlements, curb federal spending, cut burdensome regulations and advance opportunity for the next generation.

Friday, February 25, 2011

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