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U.S. National Debt:

Time For A Better Approach

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

Our government's debt is now equal to the entire economic output of the country.  Any effort to create lasting jobs and spur growth must begin with addressing the debt and conditions that got us here.  The Senate Republican Jobs Plan provides a balanced approach that includes restraining federal spending, reforming tax and regulatory policy, expanding market opportunities for U.S. businesses and providing an energy policy to sustain affordable energy options.  Addressing spending and creating the tax and regulatory environment that encourages growth and innovation are critical first steps.  This is exactly what our nation needs, without delay. 


To address out-of-control federal spending, the plan would require a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution, a statutory spending limit and spending cuts to immediately reduce deficits.  A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution would limit the ability to raise taxes on workers and job creators to pay for unrestrained spending, and it would codify the common sense concept of not spending beyond our means.  Requiring a statutory spending limit would reinforce this effort by improving restraints on federal spending and making it more difficult for Congress to enable irresponsible spending.  The plan also calls for cutting spending relative to current levels and controlling and reforming entitlement programs, which are currently on a path to become insolvent by the time current American workers are scheduled to retire.


Reforming our nation's complex tax code will lessen the burden on job creators and power economic growth.  The Senate Republican Jobs Plan calls for reforming the tax code to incentivize, not penalize, job creation through simplifying and reducing business and individual tax rates, supporting innovation by making the research and development tax credit permanent, extending and making permanent the ability of small businesses to write off equipment purchases as tax deductions and reducing taxes on capital gains and dividends to reduce the harm high taxes on these activities cause to productivity and worker wages. 


In addition to improvements to our tax and financial policies, regulatory reform will help promote job creation and allow our business leaders to be more competitive and dynamic in the marketplace.  The plan includes proposals to reduce the regulatory burden on our nation's job creators by requiring that regulations proposed by the Administration also account for the economic impact on American businesses and promote innovation.  Senate Republicans are also recommending congressional approval of any federal rule that may have a $100 million or more effect on our nation's economy.  The outline would also prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, which is a serious threat to job creation and growth.  The plan would also address one of the most significant cost issues for job creators-health care-by proposing meaningful medical malpractice reform, providing additional risk pools for small businesses and strengthening health savings accounts and patient-centric health care.


I have been meeting regularly with a bipartisan group of Senators seeking agreement on a comprehensive fiscal reform plan to reduce federal spending and the deficit.  While work continues to try to achieve an agreement, Congress should enact the common sense proposals in the Senate Republican Jobs Plan.  Trying to spend our way out of the mess or avoiding addressing it enables the problem to worsen.  The Senate Republican Jobs Plan proposals are not pulled out of the sky.  Many have been discussed for years and are overdue.  This comprehensive approach can help spur the growth needed to get our nation on track.  Next week, I will provide additional information on the other components of the Jobs Plan. 


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