Will the 112th Congress Bring Fiscal Responsibility to America?

Jenny Erikson

moneyThere are a lot of new congressmen in Washington, and many of them were voted in on a campaign promise of fiscal responsibility. The accumulated national debt is rapidly approaching the debt ceiling, and unless federal spending is curbed, we’re going to spend ourselves into poverty.

The message is simple: Spend within your means. The application is much more difficult, since no one wants to see his or her piece of the pie shrink. Combine that with any given politician’s number one priority (not getting fired by being voted out at the next election), and we have a recipe for economic disaster.

On one side of the equation, we have constituents that like their entitlements. “The government is spending too much!” they cry, while at the same time opposing cuts to Social Security, one of the biggest money hogs in existence, and other programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the Pigford reparations.

On the other side of the equation, we have politicians who want to make their constituents happy. What are our congressmen and senators to do when their people back home want more goodies for less money? No one wants to be the bad guy who says, “Sorry guys, Louisiana got an extra $300 million in Medicaid kickbacks in the health care bill, but the good news is that our state didn’t add any extra dollars to the annual deficit!”

It’s easy to get into the mentality of “if the money’s going to be spent anyway, it might as well be spent on me.” The keeping-up-with-the-Jones attitude has plagued us Americans on a personal and national level. Forty-three percent of us spend more than we earn each month, and we carry an average of $8,000 in credit card debt per household.

The time to buckle down is now. Americans are ready. We said we were ready when we elected people like Vicky Hartzler in November. This powerhouse freshman mama defeated 17-term big-spender Ike Skelton in Missouri’s fourth district, and she didn’t come to Washington to make friends.

“I’m here to save America. I’m here to save our children and grandchildren from crushing debt,” she told me in a meeting this week. She continued, “I don’t care if I get re-elected in two years, because right now I have a job to do, and that is getting our economy back on track.”

Americans are ready to do the hard work. We elected a majority in the House that promised to cut the spending, even though we know it’s going to be difficult. Don’t let us down. Our prosperity depends on you.


Image via yomanimus/Flickr

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