By Christopher Shays
March 2, 2012
Printed in the News Times
Let’s be frank. It’s past time to face reality. Americans are hurting. People are losing their homes and are desperate for jobs. Gas prices are skyrocketing and too many Americans are struggling to get by week to week.
Times are hard.
As I meet with people across the state, I’m hearing that for the first time in their lives, they are concerned about the future of their country. And for good reason. Their elected leaders are putting their own personal and political agendas ahead of the needs of our country.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are ways to get us out of the financial mess Washington has gotten us into. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “the problems are complex but the solutions are simple.”
If we cut the budget by just 1 percent for each of the next six years the budget would be close to balanced without the need for any new taxes.
The current administration and Democrats and, regretfully, some Republicans have proven they are unwilling to put the country’s well being ahead of political posturing.
Three years ago America elected a president with no experience, and we are paying the price. Connecticut can’t afford to make that same mistake again, whether it’s in the White House or the Senate.
We need elected officials with the experience to know what to do, and how to do it.
We need leaders who will make tough decisions, put a stop to fiscal insanity, and do what is right for our country.
The president’s unrealistic budget proposal, combined with the Senate’s refusal to vote on its own budget for more than 1,000 days, couldn’t be more irresponsible and counterproductive.
President Obama’s $3.8 trillion proposal, hikes taxes, spends new money, increases the deficit, and fails to reform entitlement programs.
But it truly doesn’t have to be this way.
We can get America back on track and Americans back to work — not just with a job but with a career.
The first imperative is to rid ourselves of the dead weight dragging our economy under — the obscene national debt. We must get our financial house in order by balancing the budget by spending less.
It’s alarming that Washington outspends its income by a trillion dollars every year. We all have to live on a budget, so should Washington.
Balancing the budget “may seem complex but the solutions are simple.” I’ve done it.
I did it for four years with a Republican Congress and Democratic president. And it needs to happen again, now!
We can’t wait 12, 18, or 24 years until we’re living within our means.
Think of how high the debt would soar. Think of what that debt would mean for our children and grandchildren. It’s simply unacceptable.
That’s why I propose to balance the budget in six years. It can be done by reducing the size of government, making it more effective and efficient, and by reforming entitlements so they’re there for future generations.
Our elected officials in Washington have clearly shown they won’t do it on their own. We need to pass a balanced budget amendment so our leaders are never again permitted to let their spending get out of control.
I co-sponsored a balanced budget amendment when I was in Congress, and voted for it. We wouldn’t be in this mess if it had passed.
We have a decade of monumental decisions ahead of us. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to make our country better.
Americans have always believed in unlimited opportunities and the greatness of our country.
We can unlock American ingenuity and potential. We can choose to save our country from bankruptcy, ensure that entitlements will be there for future generations, and encourage the kind of economic growth in the private sector that not only creates jobs, but lasting careers.
When we balance the budget, America will prosper again. We just need leaders with the experience, energy and guts to make it happen.
Christopher Shays is seeking the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate representing Connecticut. He is a former U.S. representative from the 4th District.