Thursday, July 02, 2015
Billy Long: Our next focus should be on Medicare, Social Security, and entitlements
The world’s eyes this week were turned to Greece as the nation, ridden with overwhelming debt, slipped into default after failing to pay a major debt payment to the International Monetary Fund. With the events in Greece this week, it is hard not to think about our own debt crisis.
Currently, the U.S. national debt stands near $18.3 trillion. To put that in context, the total size of the U.S. economy is $17.7 trillion. It is frightening to think our nation’s debt outpaces our economic activity; and, even worse, China holds 30 percent of our debt and counting. As the interest we pay on our debt continues to increase, I am concerned we may be on a similar path as Greece, which has debt close to double the size of its economy. That is why my colleagues and I are committed to sound fiscal solutions to curb America’s rising debt.
In May, the House and Senate jointly agreed to a budget resolution for the first time in six years. Our budget outlines $5.3 trillion in cuts over the next decade and would balance the budget in less than 10 years. It was the most aggressive proposal since the Budget Committee’s establishment in 1974. Following up on the promises made within that budget, the House has so far passed six funding bills in line with deficit reduction plans as we work toward fulfilling a sound, balanced budget – without tax increases.
Reducing our spending, creating a balanced budget and responsibly continuing deficit reduction are the steps to take to reduce our debt, and I believe we are getting off on the right foot. Our next move should be concerning reforms must focus on Medicare, Social Security and entitlement programs.
Overall, our actions so far this year show our solid commitment to avoid a Greece-like catastrophe for our children and grandchildren with the promise of more efforts for reform and reduction ahead. I am confident the steps we are taking to prioritize spending now will lead to greater debt reduction in the future. We can finally move away from unsound economic policies of the past and end our heavy reliance on other nations to finance our debt. We are working to strengthen the nation with a brighter, less troublesome future.