published Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Sen. Corker vs. higher debt

Tennessee’s fiscally responsible and practical Sen. Bob Corker points out that the federal government is spending “$4.1 billion a day that we don’t have.”

If that doesn’t concern the president and most members of Congress, it certainly should concern all reasonable American taxpayers. It obviously troubles Corker.

Barring major spending reform, “I will not vote for raising the debt ceiling,” he said emphatically yesterday, as he met members of the news staff of the Times Free Press.

Corker insists, “We’ve got to reduce spending.” He asked, “If we don’t have the courage to deal with it now, when will we have the courage down the road?”

Fortunately, Tennessee’s Sen. Lamar Alexander, Rep. Jimmy Duncan and Rep. Jim Cooper, plus a number of other Democrat and Republican members of Congress around the country, have joined Corker in supporting a bill, the CAP Act, that would curtail federal spending.

The abbreviation stands for “Commitment to American Prosperity.” Introduced by Corker, the legislation seeks over 10 years to cap both discretionary and mandatory spending to a declining percentage of America’s gross domestic product. GDP is all our nation produces in a year.

The goal is to bring federal spending down from its current, unsustainable 24.7 percent of GDP to the 40-year historical level, 20.6 percent.

“The fiscal straitjacket would result in $7.6 trillion less spending over a 10-year period and fundamentally change the way Washington does business,” Corker notes on his website.

The CAP Act would put everything from entitlements to defense spending on the table.

“Washington continues to borrow and spend, and despite the pleas of the American people, there is no end in sight,” he said. “As we approach our debt limit of $14.29 trillion and more and more Americans — Republicans, Democrats and Independents — call on Washington to get spending under control and reduce our deficit, I see no better time to change course.”

But what would the CAP Act do if Congress still refused to cap spending? It would force the Office of Management and Budget “to make evenly distributed simultaneous cuts throughout the federal budget to bring spending down to the pre-determined level.” That “real pain,” as Corker calls it, would be an incentive for lawmakers to take spending cuts seriously.

Can you think of a more reasonable way to do the necessary business of government and avoid higher taxes and debt?

Corker is open not only to his own approach, but to other serious efforts to slash federal spending. But he notes a financial catastrophe we can expect if no sensible plan is approved: “On the present trajectory, U.S. debt will reach 185 percent of GDP” by 2035.

Imagine that: Our national debt will be nearly double the total, mighty annual output of the United States!

President Barack Obama and some members of Congress don’t want to face the financial facts before the next election.

But Corker and at least some of his fellow lawmakers from around the nation are seeking a solution. Shouldn’t American taxpayers insist that Corker and others supporting vital efforts to cut spending be joined by a majority in Congress — now?

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nucanuck said...

Senator Corker stood four square behind every unfunded war dollar George Bush wanted to spend. Now, with Obama in office, Senator Bob has had an epiphany, he now wants us to do what we should have been doing all along, but,uh,don't reduce the military or raise taxes on his fat cat buddies.

Come on Bob, don't sing just half the song. Man up and speak up for all Americans. We are circling the drain and you still worry about political posturing.

April 20, 2011 at 1:03 a.m.
acerigger said...

Would someone ask Bob while he's in town,how do you go about keeping inspectors off of a major ,tax-payer funded construction project like the waterfront?

April 20, 2011 at 10:28 a.m.
Leaf said...

Nucanuck is right. We all want to reduce the deficit. Republicans just want to do it without military cuts or raising taxes on the wealthy, and Democrats want to do it without cutting social security or medicare.

April 20, 2011 at 10:33 a.m.
librul said...

Maybe we should just cut back on republicans !?!?!?

April 20, 2011 at 11:40 a.m.
Plato said...

Someone needs to tell Senator Corker that cutting funding for home heating assistance and NPR while maintaining a Trillion dollar a year global police force is insane.

We need a top to bottom review of DOD to determine what our TRUE needs are to defend our country and our national interests in the 21st Century. If we did that HONESTLY I'm sure we could cut DODs budget in half which would get us out of the deficit hole. This is so obvious it is amazing to me that it hasn't become the central issue in the spending debate.

I watched 3 hours plus of cable news a day and so far the only two people that recognize and have articulated this point of view are former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan and the Congressman Ron Paul.

Where are all the other tea partiers, libertarians, fiscal conservatives antiwar libs? feeding from the troughs of General Dynamics, Boeing, Haliburton and others who spent over $27 Million lobbying for the Afghanistan surge alone, I'm sure.

April 20, 2011 at 4:20 p.m.
acerigger said...

This arbitrary spending cap, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities "would force draconian cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and many other programs while making it harder for the nation to recover from recession." It caps total federal spending to 20.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the average from 1970 to 2008. It ignores the demographic and economic changes the nation has undergone in the past 40 years, and "does not account for fundamental changes in society and government: the aging of the population, substantial increases in health care costs, and new federal responsibilities in areas such as homeland security, veterans’ health care, and prescription drug coverage for seniors." Saying "America has a spending problem" is saying "I don't understand the budget and don’t want to learn anything further about it." We have a health-care costs problem, an aging problem and a taxing problem. But a spending cap has nothing to say about any of these problems.... A spending cap is an effort to deny our real problems, not to fix them. It allows politicians to sound tough and solutions-oriented without forcing them to actually develop any solutions.

April 21, 2011 at 3:33 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

librul has the answer!! Thanks for that, librul. My sentiments EXACTLY!

Are you reading all of this Corker? It's kind of like reading "tea" leaves...I can kind of foretell how the next election is going to turn out.

April 21, 2011 at 8:44 p.m.
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