Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

MY VIEW: George Voinovich

Mar 25, 2013 | Budgets & Projections

In today's Cincinnati Enquirer, CRFB board member and former Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) calls on Ohio's congressional members to get serious about solving our national debt problem. The argument Senator Voinovich makes should concern not only Ohioans, but political leaders and citizens in every congressional district and state.

Higher interest payments, slower economic growth, and greater risk of fiscal crises could all occur if we are unable to put our national debt on a downward path as a share of the economy. It's a problem that will affect all of us, and short term fixes are not the solution. If lawmakers are willing to come together and make the necessary tough decisions, this problem can be solved. Voinovich explains:

Ohio’s congressional delegation must get serious about fixing the debt. In this time of serial self-inflicted fiscal crises, our Ohio leaders are in a powerful position to move Congress toward enacting a comprehensive plan that puts our economy back on track. We must push through the current deadlock between the two parties and find a way to deal with our growing national debt.

The debt problems we face are gigantic. At over $11.8 trillion, the publicly held portion of our national debt is over 73 percent of the size of our economy – the highest share since the 1940s – and it is slated to grow over the coming decades, despite the recent “fiscal cliff” tax increases and “sequester” spending cuts. Even after all of this, the truth is that we just haven’t done enough to get our debt under control.

It’s time for our leaders in Washington to come together and agree on a plan to get our debt under control. Because of the pivotal place in Washington that our representatives from Ohio occupy, they can be instrumental in leading the way to a bipartisan agreement that puts our debt on a downward path as a share of the economy over the long term.

Such a plan must reduce spending through smart cuts to unnecessary and inefficient programs, promote growth through reform to our overly-complex tax code and preserve the integrity of our entitlement programs by passing reforms that make them financially sustainable over the long term.

These reforms will require compromise from both parties and from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, but we owe it to our children and to future generations to stop accumulating more debt to leave on their shoulders.

We Ohioans have an opportunity to play a vital role in this process by showing our senators and representatives we support them in coming together to build a comprehensive plan and in making the hard decisions for the good of our country. We need to let them know that continuing to patch together short-term fixes, like we’ve seen over the past few months, is no longer an option.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the committee.