Congressman Rob Woodall (R) spoke to local business men and women during last Wednesday's Greater Eastside Chamber of Commerce 'Lunch and Learn' at Tom Kashi Insurance. Focusing on the national debt and the future economy of our children, he offered a vivid presentation of our nation's fiscal cliff – something that neither Democrat nor Republican has a solid plan on avoiding.
“We're working pretty hard here in the weeks before the election,” said Woodall. “This is the window when all the American people are paying attention!”
According to Woodall, spending money we don't have is not new. As a nation, we are currently $16 trillion in debt. To bring that point home, he offered some insight into what it would take to lose just one trillion dollars: if you started a business the day Jesus was born, and lost one million dollars a day every day of the week through today, you would have to work another 734 years to lose your first trillion.
“The problem is a big, big problem,” he said.
It's also a problem that can't be taxed away. Even if everyone was taxed 100%, we still wouldn't have enough to pay the “future promises” we've made, according to Woodall.
He described how, in the past two years, Congress has twice passed a budget in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“It's tough, and there's pain in those solutions,” he said. “You don't get from where that red line is headed with promises we've made back to balance without tough, painful decisions.”
The Senate, however, has not passed a budget for three years.
“We really have put forward a solution,” he said. “You can't do it tomorrow, it can't happen the next day, but it can happen.”
The president, unlike the Senate, has proposed a budget every year. In the president's budget, he raised taxes by more than $2 trillion, something that he always said he wanted to do, but he also raised spending by more than $2 trillion, according to Woodall.
Subsequently, the debt gets higher and does not begin to balance until 2022.
As he discussed the cost of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – something that “we've paid into and have a legal right to” – he acknowledged that even if the federal government zeroed out the entire budget, we would still be headed toward a fiscal cliff.
“We're in a destructive cycle,” Woodall concluded, “because of the pendulum being yanked back and forth.”
While there are no concrete answers being given by either party, Woodall is hopeful that a bipartisan agreement will be reached over the next four years.