By Rep. Kristi Noem
While April may be more commonly known for the April 15th tax deadline, April is also National Financial Literacy Month. This recognition aims to encourage individuals and families in the United States to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. The federal government could clearly learn some valuable lessons from this initiative as well. I remain committed to cutting wasteful spending and changing the way Washington normally does business.
And while we have made progress, we have unfortunately not found a partner in our President. When he took office in 2008, he assured the American people that he understood the concept of fiscal responsibility and pledged to cut our nation’s deficit in half by the end of his first term. We now know that pledge had more to do with politics than follow-through.
Instead of cutting our deficit in half, we are in our fourth year of over trillion dollar deficits and our nation's debt now stands at a staggering $15 trillion. To put that in perspective, that breaks down to $48,000 for every American. More frightening is the response the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provided House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan when he asked what kind of tax rates his kids would have to pay to finance the government’s current spending promises. The CBO was quite clear: the bottom tax bracket, which is now 10 percent, would have to rise to 25 percent, the middle rate to 63 percent and the top rate, which many small businesses pay, to 88 percent. The CBO stated, “This could have some negative effects on the economy at that time.” No kidding.
South Dakotans don't need to be told the path our country is on is unsustainable. Our government must come together and make the tough decisions to secure our nation's prosperous future.
While it has been well over 1,000 days since the Senate has passed a budget, the House has taken significant steps to implement sound fiscal policy, such as last year’s passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment as well as a budget that will help get our nation back on track.
Our debt crisis is a result of Washington spending money it doesn’t have and letting our children and grandchildren pick up the tab. I stand with the people of South Dakota, who know firsthand the importance of balancing their budgets, in continuing to fight for fiscal restraint in Washington.
It is my hope that the President will recognize the dire situation our nation is in this month and join us in taking steps to ensure our kids aren't saddled with the consequences of the federal government's spending addiction.