Washington must live within its means

Last week, Congress began the monumental task of confronting our nation's chronic overspending and exploding debt, which threaten each and every American. Make no mistake, our fiscal outlook is grim and has been ignored for far too long. But we have a profound moral responsibility to help taxpayers see the true picture of our country's finances.

Republicans are proposing a responsible plan that balances the budget in 10 years with no new tax hikes, protects our most vulnerable citizens, strengthens our national defense, and improves economic growth and opportunity for hardworking families.

While this balanced budget is not perfect, it represents a significant first step in changing how we do business in order to safeguard the future for our children and grandchildren.

Runaway spending over the past six years has created a dangerously growing debt, because of deeply ingrained habits of spending now and paying later.

Federal revenues have hit record highs. Yet, we are on track to overspend by nearly $1 trillion a year. To put that into perspective, that is 1,000 billion dollars. And the more we overspend, the more debt we owe, and the more we add to the tab for future generations.

In fact, America's debt currently totals more than $18 trillion. Every man, woman and child now owes more than $56,000 on that debt, and that number is expected to grow to more than $75,000 over the next decade.

Every dollar spent on interest on our debt is another dollar we won't be able to use for government services for individuals in need, or another dollar that won't be available to taxpayers for their own needs.

It is time to stop talking and start acting. Washington must live within its means — just like hardworking families do every day — and deliver to the American people a more effective and accountable government that supports them when it must and gets out of the way when it should.

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

By:  Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Source: USA Today