Monday, March 07, 2016

Hartzler: Reining in America's out-of-control spending (Part 1)

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

You’ve heard before that our country is in the grips of an unsustainable debt crisis that threatens our children and grandchildren. As a member of the House Budget Committee and a concerned citizen with a family, I have spoken extensively of the need to rein in our bloated federal government and its unquenchable desire for more taxpayer money. In part one of this two part column, I’d like to take a look into how we got where we are and how we get ourselves out of this morass. Next week we will discuss some possible solutions.

To start, it should be made clear there are two main types of spending – discretionary and mandatory. Discretionary spending refers to the portion of the budget that is decided by Congress each year. This covers defense and other non-defense federal programs, accounting for approximately 30 percent of our total spending. Mandatory spending, on the other hand, is automatic spending Congress does not vote on and is set by how much each program needs to cover the participants in them. About 70 percent of our budget is driven by mandatory programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

In recent years, Congress has made great progress in cutting discretionary spending. In fact, since Republicans took over the majority in the House in 2010, discretionary spending has been cut by $125 billion.

But while discretionary spending is being trimmed, mandatory spending is growing. Mandatory spending makes up two-thirds of our budget and is largely responsible for our $19 trillion debt. What makes this spending even more of a cause for concern is the fact that interest payments on that debt are continuing to climb and are slated to exceed what we spend on our national defense in the next 10 years. Interestingly, the only programs receiving more than these interest payments are Social Security and Medicare. Unless action is taken, and quickly, these two programs will not be around for future generations.

The simple truth is that we are an aging society, using more and more of the benefits contained in the safety net. Social Security spending is projected to double from $882 billion in FY 2015 to $1.6 trillion in FY 2026. Medicare is also projected to double from $539 billion to $1.079 trillion over the same period of time. This is clearly an unsustainable path.

I want to preserve and protect Social Security, Medicare, and other vital government programs to ensure they are available to those who need them. If this is to happen, we must abandon the path we are on and take our country in another direction – a more responsible, conservative direction.

In next week’s column I will discuss some plans my Republican colleagues and I are considering as we must all come to grips with the fact we are spending too much and must make serious changes so Washington can do what families do all across Missouri's 4th District--live within its means.


Anonymous said...

Great idea Vicky. Hey, let's start by doing away with all farm subsidities.

Anonymous said...

How about cutting loose of some money for water and wastewater upgrades which will provide jobs that will result in income taxes on those jobs. As a result the money spent to construct those facilities and salaries will turn over in the communities, as told by economists, about seven fold increasing state and federal revenues to fuel more jobs and so on so forth. Simple monetary policy that escapes our republican legislators. Oh, those soaring medical expenditures are result of uninsured citizens waiting until things get out of hand instead of seeking preventative observations and catching serious illnesses at the onset. More simple solutions that also escape our esteemed legislators.

Anonymous said...

You forget the number one universal truth. Republicans collectively are dumber than a box of rocks.

Anonymous said...

Can we get a hell yea! for some more tax cuts?

Make it trickle down on us again!

Anonymous said...

Typical rhetoric. Does she know anything besides what she has been brainwashed with? Ask your republican governor buddies in KS, OK, LA, and MI how it is working for them. Or do we ignore the fact that they have driven the economies of their respective states into the ditch? Isn't that their latest mantra? Ignore it and it will go away. Republicans hate the fact that the good ol' boy ignorance is being taken over by people that are actually reading and making their own decisions based on facts and not playing into the hate and fear tactics of their dying party.