published Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Fleischmann: Like families, America must balance books

By Chuck Fleischmann

When my wife and I started our business fresh out of law school times were tough. As hard as times were, we understood the need for balancing our books. The only way we were going to succeed in the future was to not spend more than we took in. It was a lesson we learned early, and it’s a lesson I preach every day in Washington.

This past week, in fact, I took to the House floor on this very issue. I took a minute to remind the people in Washington exactly what a budget is. Webster’s defines it most simply as: a plan for the coordination of resources and expenditures. That’s fairly straightforward. It means we have to take into account the amount of money we have coming in (resources) when we decide how to spend (expenditures).

Republicans in the House recognize the benefits of balancing a budget. With a balanced budget we will foster an environment that leads to job creation, and it will allow us to protect our seniors by fixing the deficit spending cycle that has put Medicare and Social Security on the path to bankruptcy.

Under the budget that passed the House, a young person considering college — who today would be faced with mounting debt and an uncertain future after graduation — would find financial aid programs preserved and more choices in higher education opportunities. When that person graduates, he or she would find a much-improved economic landscape: a balanced budget will create half a million new jobs in 2014, and 1.7 million by the end of 2023. When they start to think about retirement, the benefits for which they’ve worked hard for so many years will be more secure than ever.

The vicious cycle of deficit spending propagated by Washington has set programs like Medicare and Social Security on a path to bankruptcy. Our balanced budget will preserve these programs for our children and grandchildren. Nothing will change for those seniors in or near retirement, and future generations will have an even greater range of options from which to choose. We owe our seniors the retirement security they deserve, and that’s what a balanced budget provides.

In 2013, the federal government is set to take in more revenue than it ever has before. You would think this would make budgeting easier. Unfortunately, there are many in Washington who simply refuse to recognize the importance of a balanced budget.

The House Republican budget accomplishes all of the above without raising taxes. It addresses the need for real tax reform, which will clear out special-interest loopholes, simplify the tax code and lower everybody’s rate. We already take more than enough out of the pockets of the American people. It’s time we start to budget that money more effectively.

The Democrat-led Senate fundamentally disagrees with these premises. While I applaud them for finally doing their job and passing a budget for the first time in four years, I’m not sure we could differ more on our approaches. While the House budget sets the stage for tax reform that flattens and broadens the tax base without raising taxes, the Senate budget will increase taxes by $1 trillion. With that massive increase “a plan for the coordination of resources and expenditures” should be fairly simple, right? However, their plan never balances. Ever.

Our country is in debt — over $16 trillion of it, and that number rises by the day. Yet for four straight years under President Obama the federal government has spent at least a trillion dollars more than it took in. That means roughly 46 cents of every federal dollar spent is borrowed. The American people know this isn’t acceptable. It wouldn’t work in their households and it won’t work for our nation. That’s why I will continue to fight for a balanced budget that will set our nation back on a path to prosperity.

Chuck Fleischmann, a Republican from Ooltewah, represents Tennessee’s 3rd District in the United States House of Representatives.

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AndrewLohr said...

So how cut spending? Use a new tax form on which we can vote to cut or trim spending and get bigger refunds one the cuts actually happen. Foreign aid? Cut 10,000,000,000 dollars--$30 per American--and give us $3 each if we vote for the cut. And so on.

March 31, 2013 at 1:07 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Did your BS meter just go BOING when you read the above bucket of economic slop? When was the last time a Republican balanced a budget? Ten years before never. And telling us that if Congress would only balance the budget, things would be rosey. Now that's a knee slapper. Is this guy really a Congressperson? Now there is a waste of good taxpayer dollars.

The Democrats don't get a pass either. Our financial system has been corrupted and the stimuli of the past are no longer able to revive a sick economy. If we are serious about an Americal revival, we have to pass a new Glass-Steagle Act, enforce anti-trust laws, cut spending, raise taxes, and fasten our seat belts for a very rough patch ahead. If we are not willing to go there, then we can kiss America goodbye and say hello to the 3rd world. Think it can't happen? If government stays under the money control of the corporate oligarchs, we are finished.

March 31, 2013 at 2:39 a.m.
acerigger said...

No Republican has lowered the deficit in 50 years.

No Republican has balanced a budget in 50 years.

EACH of the last four Republican Presidents set new deficit records during their administrations.

The last three Republican Administrations,Reagan,G.H.W.Bush,G.W.Bush,increased the debt TEN times over- From $1 Trillion in 1980 to $10 Trillion in 2008. This, without an economy to fix or any world wars.Only a desire to keep themselves and their wealthy friends from paying taxes.

March 31, 2013 at 12:09 p.m.
dfreezy said...

No politicians get to complain about the deficit until they cut "defense" spending.

March 31, 2013 at 1:02 p.m.
hambone said...

Chuck, why haven't you put some of that job creating expertise you claimed while campaigning to work in Washington?

BTW. How many jobs does a collections lawyer create?

March 31, 2013 at 1:07 p.m.
dfreezy said...

There's only one person to blame for our debt crisis

March 31, 2013 at 3:15 p.m.
hambone said...

Creating jobs and lowering unemployment will balance the budget quicker than all the spending cuts you can think of Chuck!

March 31, 2013 at 7:34 p.m.
gjuster said...

Too much entitlement spending, too much foreign aid, too much "free money" to the big corporations, too many tax loopholes, too many politicians in DC spending too much time there, too much waste in defense, too many wars, too many people that think that the government creates jobs, and too many people expecting that Washington can fix the problem through more laws.

April 1, 2013 at 6:51 a.m.
Facts said...

I'm headed to work to make substantially less money to create a product that most folks use daily after reading something that restates the obvious and was likely written by a DC consultant for other over-paid politicians to send out. I don't trust these talking point politicians.

April 1, 2013 at 7:10 a.m.
Leaf said...

Wait. Let me get my shovel.

C'mon chuck. We all know those Republican House "budgets" are nothing more than playing pieces in your childish game of partisan politics. The American public isn't as stupid as you think.

April 1, 2013 at 9:54 a.m.
bret said...

When a family like Chuck's balances the books they don't do it by depriving their children of basic medical needs or food so that mommy and daddy can go out partying. And yet, that is exactly what the GOP proposes, trying to balance the US budget on the backs of the poor while the wealthiest Americans get even more tax breaks and corporate subsidies.

April 1, 2013 at 12:36 p.m.
chet123 said...



May 26, 2013 at 12:58 p.m.
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