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U.S. National Debt:

Sharing Our Solutions

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

Coming home for the state work period is invigorating and thought-provoking.  It gives me the opportunity to discuss directly with fellow Idahoans the state of America's finances.  My first day back, I had the chance to speak with Chamber of Commerce members in Rigby.  We turned the meeting into a town hall-style discussion.  The give-and-take dialogue such forums provide is indispensable as Congress considers policy matters affecting all of our futures.   


I hope to get a chance to visit with many more Idahoans in person at the town hall meetings I will be holding throughout Idaho.  The current town hall meeting schedule follows:

  • Monday, August 15, at the College of Southern Idaho Fine Arts Auditorium, Twin Falls, 5:00 PM
  • Monday, August 29, at the Idaho State University Meridian Campus Auditorium, Meridian, 5:15 PM
  • Thursday, September 1, at the North Idaho College, Boswell Hall, Shuler Auditorium, Coeur d'Alene, 5:00 PM


Our nation faces significant challenges, and I want to hear your views and ideas.  With the volatility of the stock market and many indicators painting a grim economic picture, Congress has more work to do.  We cannot wait for painful market corrections that make it increasingly difficult to turn around our economy. 


Excessive federal spending is the problem, and we need further enforceable federal spending cuts and a pro-growth overhaul of our tax code to lower rates and spur economic growth.  I have been working on plans to cut our deficits by $4 trillion; lower tax rates to make our tax code flatter, fairer and more competitive; and restore the viability of rapidly deteriorating social safety nets to ensure their continued availability.


Our current tax structure is unfair, extremely expensive to comply with and makes American businesses less competitive in the global marketplace.  Fixing this problem is imperative for a strong economy that creates and sustains needed jobs here at home.  I am focused on lowering all individual and corporate tax rates, simplifying and streamlining the tax code (dramatically reducing compliance costs) and helping American businesses better compete in a global marketplace-policies that will lead to robust economic and job growth.


To strengthen the solvency of our most important social programs, we need to spend health care dollars more efficiently to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid and improve the Social Security program's long-term finances to maintain the commitments we have made to protect current recipients, while strengthening the system for the future. 


Budget discipline and enforcement through spending caps, restraining the use of budget tricks to circumvent the limits and a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are also needed.


We desperately need to control our deficits, grow our economy and bring stability and certainty to vital programs so that they will remain solvent for current seniors, working Americans and future generations.  We can build on recent momentum and embark on a pro-growth agenda that brings federal spending under control and reforms our burdensome and expensive tax code.  I look forward to our continued discussion on ideas to achieve these goals.  I want your input and hope to see you soon at the town hall meetings.  Many of you are writing and calling.  Please continue to do so.  We need to work together to cut federal spending, lower taxes and make our government smaller and more responsive for the betterment of our economy and nation. 


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