Letters to the Editor

Viewpoint: Save the nation’s future

America has always been known as the land of opportunity, and folks throughout San Luis Obispo County have proven that to be true time and again. You work hard to achieve the American Dream, and like you, I want my kids to have even more opportunities than I had. But if our country continues down the fiscal path it has been on, they won’t. That’s unacceptable to me.

America’s debt and deficit are unsustainable. Republicans, Democrats and independent analysts, including the president’s own fiscal commission, have all warned of the devastating consequences our rising debt and deficit will have on our economy and jobs if action is not taken.

This impending crisis is exactly why I voted for the Path to Prosperity budget. That budget, drafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, takes honest steps to reduce government spending and addresses our debt in an effective and responsible way. Medicare and Medicaid are vital programs many rely on, but they are on a path of unsustainability. If the status quo is allowed to continue, they will not be there for our children and grandchildren. I strongly believe that we must preserve these critical programs, and the Path to Prosperity would do that in a way that also puts them on a path to sustainability.

The reforms contained in our budget wouldn’t change a thing for anyone in or near retirement when it comes to Medicare. That means if you are 55 or older, you would receive the exact same Medicare benefits that are available now. Future beneficiaries would be entitled to health care options similar to those now received by members of Congress.

When it comes to Medicaid, our budget empowers states. Instead of the federal government dictating how states should spend money on Medicaid programs, our budget allows them to choose how to best allocate monies by providing funding in block grants. This will allow states to spend money in the health service areas that most benefit their residents.

My colleagues and I who support the Path to Prosperity fully understand that by proposing our solutions to our nation’s difficult problems, the partisan political attacks and the demagoguery will begin. But the cost of continued inaction on our fiscal crisis is too great — we must take action on the issues that are literally driving the country we all love toward the brink of fiscal disaster.

And rather than respond to the partisan attacks in kind, we believe that the Path to Prosperity speaks for itself; it is simple, straightforward and honest. Furthermore, these reforms, coupled with other actions in our budget, will help reduce the crushing burden of debt that is threatening to leave our kids with less than we had.

In fact, our budget cuts $6.2 trillion in government spending over the next decade compared with President Barack Obama’s budget. Getting our nation’s fiscal house in order reduces the threat of new tax burdens on our families and businesses and instead creates a better environment for job creation. As a former small-business owner, I know firsthand that higher taxes mean less money is available to hire more employees and invest in our economy.

We cannot tax our way to prosperity or tax our way into saving Medicare. Our budget would lower the tax burden to encourage entrepreneurship and create new jobs. In fact, the House Budget Committee projects that the Path to Prosperity could create approximately 1 million private sector jobs over the next year.

Imagine for a moment the future of this country if we reversed the direction on our debt counter and watched our debt shrink instead of continue to grow. Imagine the enormous potential if our kids weren’t saddled with this massive debt.

The Path to Prosperity helps us do this — it reverses the debt clock while protecting the integrity and purpose of our nation’s health safety net and creating an environment that encourages entrepreneurship, investment and economic growth.

Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, represents portions of San Luis Obispo County in Congress.