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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Government must cut spending

Friday, July 1, 2011

Here it is July and while Nebraskans are thinking about summer fun, family vacations, and record floods, in Washington, they're thinking about record deficits. I had planned to visit American troops in Afghanistan, including the many Nebraskans serving there, as well as U.S. military leaders, over the 4th of July break.

I still hope to travel to these conflict areas at a later date. For now, the Senate has cancelled its July 4th weeklong break to address the national debt. I applaud that because this is a very serious issue that requires our full attention. The reward will be great because reducing the debt will improve the sluggish economy and get people back to work.

Debt and Deficit

There is no question that Congress must reduce spending, reduce the debt and stop running deficits each year. Washington is no stranger to deficits having balanced the budget only 3 times in the past 40 years.

At the current rate, it is estimated that the federal debt limit, or the debt ceiling, will be reached on August 2nd. Once the limit is reached, the U.S. can no longer borrow money by selling treasury bonds to meet its commitments.

Some people think Congress should just let this happen. Others think failure to raise the debt ceiling will result in a serious economic backlash that could permanently undermine U.S. credit around the world. They say it could push the economy back into recession.

What is clear is that Congress cannot simply continue raising the ceiling again and again. A broader solution is necessary -- one that forces us to spend within our means, to prioritize and make only strategic investments.

Congress is going to use the week following Independence Day to continue deliberating the best way to address these serious challenges. It is my hope that my colleagues will join me in emphasizing spending cuts throughout these discussions.

Washington Must Reduce Spending

The key to controlling the deficit is the leadership on both sides needs to get partisan politics out of the picture and make the hard decisions to cut government spending. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, calls the debt the most significant threat to our national security because it affects the ability for our country to resource our military. This should be reason enough to force serious action on this issue.

Nebraskans know a thing or two about working together to live within their means. We are required to balance the state budget each year. As Governor, I worked closely with the Unicameral and balanced the budget 8 years in a row.

I will continue to work with Republicans, Democrats, Independents and everyone else committed to reducing the national debt.

Washington owes it to the American people to put the partisan games aside, keep moving forward, and continue to work responsibly to reduce government spending.

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Did the economy ever leave the red to begin with...

-- Posted by cplcac on Mon, Jul 4, 2011, at 7:21 PM

Cut government spending, Mr. Nelson? Didn't you vote for one of the largest and most comprehensive entitlements to ever become penned into a bill?

Repeal Obamacare, sir; and put your money where your mouth is. Thank you.

-- Posted by Mickel on Mon, Jul 4, 2011, at 9:22 PM

Dear Senator Nelson --

Let me help you out here a little bit since you neglected to include all the reasons for our growing debt. A June 30th Press Release by Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations (I believe you are part that Committee) does an excellent job of summing up the situation.

From the Press Release:

In the media today there is a great deal of discussion about growing our way out of the current fiscal crisis. To grow will take real investment in our public sector to modernize our national highway system, to invest in high speed rail, to rebuild our bridges and to ensure our public safety by shoring up our levees, dams and our borders. In short, domestic discretionary investments are not the problem, they are in fact a vital part of the solution to our economic and fiscal challenges.

While defense and other war related costs -- adjusted for inflation -- have experienced substantial growth of 74%, ($364 billion) in the ten years since 2001, these costs are clearly related to the cost of countering terrorism, defending the homeland, and supporting a larger veteran population. We need an honest debate on how much is needed to preserve our security, but let me say this -- we can only substantially cut these programs at our Nation's peril.

Although non-defense discretionary spending in nominal dollars has increased, when taking inflation and population growth into account the amount contained in the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution represents no increase over what we spent in 2001, a year in which we generated a surplus of $128 billion. So the right question to ask is: Are we really spending too much on non-defense programs? The answer is clearly no. Non-defense discretionary spending levels are essentially unchanged from 2001. There is no reason we shouldn't be able to afford them today.

The focus of our deficit talks should not be on domestic discretionary spending, but on the real reason why we are not running a surplus: historically low revenues, soaring mandatory spending, and the cost of war.

In constant dollars, adjusted for population growth, non-defense discretionary spending is at the same level in Fiscal Year 2011 as it was in Fiscal Year 2001, when the federal government ran a $128 billion surplus.

The cost of security programs is up 74% in constant dollars.

Department of Defense funding (not including the cost of war or Military Construction) is up 47% in constant dollars (increasing from $349B in FY 2001 to $513B in FY 2011).

Department of Defense funding (including the cost of war but not including Military Construction is up 80% in constant dollars (increasing from $373B in FY 2001 to $671B in FY 2011).

The cost of mandatory programs after adjusting for population growth is up 32% in constant dollars.

Revenues are down 18% in constant dollars when adjusted for population growth. As a percent of GDP, revenues are at their lowest level since 1950.

Following is a link to the Press Release.


-- Posted by Geezer on Sat, Jul 9, 2011, at 3:05 PM

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