Welcome to the February edition of the Speak Up for Good Government newsletter.
I hope you have had a good month.
The focus of this month's newsletter is the debt limit and federal spending. The recurring drama regarding both of these topics is at the heart of much of the dysfunction of the federal government and is completely unacceptable.
There is broad consensus that defaulting on the national debt would be catastrophic, creating horrible impacts on the federal economy and on the pocket book of almost everyone. Simply put, the debt limit exercise is a disservice to every one of us. It's like requesting a credit limit increase after credit card charges have already been approved!
There is also broad consensus that the imbalance between revenues and federal spending is not sustainable and needs to be addressed.
Both parties continue to be incredibly disingenuous regarding federal spending and the budget deficit. This AP news article provides outstanding context regarding the size of the debt and overall federal spending.
Some key points:
To balance the budget, we would have to reduce federal spending by 30% or increase taxes by 40%.
If tax hikes, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and military spending are off the table, all other government expenditures (so called "discretionary spending") would have to be cut by 85% to balance the budget.
Both parties are not being honest with the American public about taxes and spending. However, in their defense, politicians that have honestly tackled these issues have typically lost elections.
Ensuring that information on this topic is readily and prominently available to the voters, demonstrating a firm commitment to problem solving by our elected officials, and with a true partnership between our elected officials and their constituents we can get our fiscal house in order and stop playing games with the economy and our pocket books.
Some additional information and resources on this topic:
Earlier this month Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and a bipartisan group of nine additional senators reintroduced the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act of 2023 (PGSA). This bill provides incentives and safeguards to prevent government shutdowns, but it does not address increases to the debt limit, which should be handled as part of the appropriations process.
The Social Security policy making simulation, which was conducted last year, found significant bipartisan consensus on steps that would eliminate 95% of the projected shortfall and ensure solvency for 75 years.
The Federal budget simulation, which was conducted in 2019, found that bipartisan majorities were ready to cut the federal deficit by $376 billion.
In addition to these two topics, simulations are available on a wide range of other topics. I strongly encourage you to check them out. There is outstanding education provided on each issue and an opportunity to make your voice heard by sending your recommendations to your members of Congress.
I have updated each of the good government principles on the Speak Up for Good Government website, including links to additional resources.
I was pleased to see that as a follow-up to the great work of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a permanent modernization sub-committee has been created. Here's a link to Issue One's press release on this topic.
Have a great month!