With the health care debate simmering on the back burner, much of the focus has been on the release of the President's annual budget. The budget proposes funding for the programs and agencies throughout the federal government. Yet I am troubled by what is now becoming a pattern for the Obama Administration: record-setting deficits, a ballooning debt, and no indication of reining in our out-of-control spending any time in the near future. President Obama now wants to spend more than ever: his budget for fiscal year 2011 proposes $3.83 trillion, the most ever spent in one budget, breaking the record of last year's by $300 billion.
Enormous spending like this isn't just an exorbitant use of your tax dollars; it is the sacrifice of your children's and grandchildren's tax dollars. Unless we scale back our borrowing significantly, they will grow up to find that the rights to most of their economic productivity will be owed to places like China. At the current rate of spending, the cost of our borrowing by 2020 will amount to an eye-popping 77 percent of our Gross Domestic Product. Nearly four-fifths of the capital we will produce in America will be owed to other countries.
That is not the behavior of a global leader. At some point, something will have to give: either we stop borrowing and start paying our debts, or we risk losing our status in the world. The puzzling thing is President Obama knows this. His own Chief Economic Adviser, Larry Summers, once asked: "How long can the world's biggest borrower remain the world's biggest power?" This makes another record-setting budget proposal all the more concerning.
Now is the time to start reversing our pattern of fiscal irresponsibility. We cannot afford the continuous trend of responsible rhetoric and reckless actions. In the past year, I voted against the stimulus bill because it included billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I voted to end the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which has become a slush fund for the Obama Administration's favorite domestic spending priorities. Unfortunately, the bill to end it did not pass. I opposed raising the debt ceiling, not because I want the United States to default on our debt, but because there is no plan in place to end the government's wild spending spree. And I strongly opposed the many carve-outs in the health care bill that would have added billions to our debt at the behest of special requests by individual Senators.
As leaders of this great country, we must actively set priorities to get our deficit under control, and I will do everything I can to help them achieve this goal. It could have started with the President's budget, to set the tone for a fiscally responsible federal government. Unfortunately, the Administration squandered the opportunity. But the President's budget proposal is only the first step. Congress can take it or leave it. We still have an opportunity to get it right and I will urge my colleagues to do just that.