CAPITOL REPORT: Ending Washington’s Spending Addiction

Dec 05, 2014
U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, Missouri

U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, Missouri

In case you missed it, last week our national debt surpassed $18 trillion. When I am home in Missouri, I constantly hear from parents and grandparents who are worried that their children and grandchildren will not be able to live the American dream because our national debt will cripple our economy for generations. This new record debt should be a wake-up call – now is the time to reduce the size and scope of the federal government and end Washington’s spending addiction.

After years of spending money that we do not have, our nation’s economy is stagnant. If nothing is done, our nation’s debt crisis threatens the future prosperity of every American. In the six years President Obama has been in office, the debt has increased by more than $7 trillion, or about 70 percent. If you stacked every dollar bill of the national debt, the stack of bills would be more than one million miles high. At over $18 trillion, each American’s share of the national debt is more than $56,000.

Our tax dollars have been wasted on numerous programs studying the effects of Swedish massages for rabbits, determining if spouses feel “hangry” (anger stemming from hunger), or if moms love their dogs as much as they love their kids. The Pentagon spent $1 billion to destroy $16 billion in unused ammunition. Three billion went to test how golf clubs and tadpole shrimp adapt on the International Space Station. These are just a few examples of the rampant widespread waste, to say nothing of the fraud and abuse in entitlement programs.

This wasteful spending has bad economic consequences – higher cost of living, higher interest rates for farm loans and small business investments, and higher taxes for everyone. Washington has spent a lot of money on government bureaucracy in an attempt to create jobs. It didn’t work. In fact, the government spending spree led by President Obama has resulted in the longest unemployment crisis since the Great Depression and the slowest recovery in a generation. I am committed to job growth and that starts with an end to deficit spending and a plan to pay down the national debt.

Our economy’s road to recovery will not be paved with massive national debt and more deficit spending. We will enjoy prosperity by permanently and responsibly reining in federal spending and paying down our national debt. Our Missouri Constitution has a balanced budget amendment that guarantees fiscal responsibility. The first bill I filed as a member of Congress was a federal balanced budget amendment, because if Washington was more like Missouri we would be a lot better off.