"Debt day" highlights danger of runaway spending

Apr 26, 2009

"Debt day" highlights danger of runaway spending
By U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson
Sunday, April 26, 2009, Island Packet

Today marks an unfortunate annual occurrence for taxpayers: "Debt Day." This is the day on the government's fiscal calendar when it has exhausted available tax revenues for that year and begins borrowing and adding to the taxpayer's debt. In other words, it is the day the government starts running up the credit card bill.

This year's Debt Day falls remarkably early in the fiscal year, which runs from October through September. Last year, the government ran out of money almost four months later on Aug. 5. In each fiscal year since 2001, Debt Day has been at least three months later than this year's date. This is a troubling reminder of what the American people understand and yet many in Washington continue to ignore: Today's unprecedented level of borrowing and spending will cripple America's future, damage Social Security and threaten today's retirement savings.

Some in Washington believe the government must run up greater deficits in order to pull our country out of these challenging economic times. They have chosen to confront an economic crisis by exasperating a fiscal crisis to the tune of $9.3 trillion in new debt over the next 10 years under President Barack Obama's budget. The actual number of sustainable jobs to be created by the Administration's debt-accumulation has yet to be realized. But if history has taught us anything, it is that relief for families, homeowners and small businesses would be a far better investment of government's time and taxpayer dollars. Those are the individuals that create the majority of jobs. That is why the stimulus proposal and budget I and many of my colleagues support makes sure that tax relief and incentives for small businesses and families are its foundation. We respect that the money belongs to the taxpayers, not the government.

The president's recent announcement that his Cabinet would cut out a collective $100 million dollars from their budgets was perhaps an acknowledgement of the disappointment the American people feel toward Washington's spending spree. But it surely was not a serious effort to stop the spending spree and roll back the growth in government. Every little bit in savings helps, but for real savings and the real change in Washington that the American people deserve, the Administration and Congress needs to start making the tough choices American families and small businesses have already made to not wildly spend what we do not have.

Such tough choices have been opposed by those who would rather the federal government manage the auto-industry, the energy sector, our health care, and our banks. Those policies add to our nation's debt and sacrifice the far greater prosperity that would be created through the ingenuity and hard work of the American people.

Republicans have offered plans that reward success and job creation, savings and investments. We promote conservation, innovation, and exploration in the energy sector not punishing taxes that will increase a family's electricity bill. We reject the assumption that government has to be in charge of your health care in order to expand affordability and accessibility to more Americans.

There is a better way forward, and conservatives in Congress will continue to offer better solutions to big government. The American people understand that we can not spend our way to prosperity, and they are fed up with a Washington that has abandoned its obligation to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. We can and must restore fiscal sanity to Washington and take Debt Day off our calendar.

Rep. Joe Wilson represents the 2nd Congressional District of South Carolina.