Addressing Our Nation’s Debt Crisis

Ron is working to address our nation’s debt crisis, which affects everything from saving Social Security to keeping our country safe from terrorism. See these excerpts from his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal:

Currently, our total debt exceeds $19 trillion. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the projected accumulated deficit over the next 30 years—the baby-boom generation’s retirement bubble—is $103 trillion.

To put that into perspective, the net value of all assets held by American households and businesses today totals $121 trillion. Now you know what is meant by unsustainable.

The $103 trillion projected deficit has three primary components: Social Security, $14 trillion; Medicare, $34 trillion; and interest on the debt, $55 trillion. If we want to avoid paying creditors all that interest, we need to address the deficits in Social Security and Medicare.

During a White House meeting in August 2013, I asked the president to use his bully pulpit to tell the American people the truth about the depth of our debt and deficits. He replied: “Ron, we can’t show the American people numbers that big. If we do, they’ll get scared and give up hope. Besides, we can’t do all the work. We have to leave some work for future presidents and future Congresses.”

This looming crisis hangs over my evaluation of every other problem America must confront. It should be at the forefront of every campaign and policy debate. Unfortunately, as Mr. Obama’s comment illustrates, it is largely being ignored, along with a host of other problems.

Our military is being hollowed out, and our ability to protect and project American values and leadership significantly weakened. Islamic terrorism is a real and growing threat and our borders are not secure.

We are not winning America’s wars on poverty or drugs, and both efforts have produced serious and destructive unintended consequences—including generational dependence on government assistance, overcrowded prisons, and too many fatherless homes. Our electrical grid is vulnerable to a number of threats, including cyberattacks—which also threaten other critical infrastructure, our financial systems and industrial technology base.

To address these enormous challenges, our economy must achieve its full potential. At approximately 2% real annual growth, we are experiencing the weakest recovery since the end of World War II. Boosting annual growth to 3% adds $14 trillion to our economy over 10 years, 4% adds $29 trillion.

Even with the meager economic growth we’ve experienced since 2009, annual revenue to the federal government has increased by more than $1.1 trillion. By reducing the enormous regulatory burden, replacing our tax system with one that is simple and globally competitive, and keeping energy prices low while we protect our environment, our economy can be dramatically strengthened.

Unfortunately, career politicians and vacuous campaigns rarely give any of these issues the serious attention they deserve.  …