Make a Grand Fiscal Bargain
By Kelly Ayotte
My grandfather, a decorated World War II veteran, recently passed away at age 98. He worked two jobs, provided for six kids, and he never used credit cards. The men and women of the "Greatest Generation" understood that you need to live within your means. They also worked hard to leave the country better off than they found it.
With over $17.5 trillion in debt and tens of trillions more in unfunded liabilities, our nation's credit card is maxed out. Republicans and Democrats, with presidential leadership, need to finally reach the much talked about, but elusive, grand fiscal agreement that will put America on a strong financial footing and create a pro-growth economic climate.
First, the agreement must address the long-term drivers of the national debt—entitlement programs. Social Security and Medicare are headed for insolvency as early as 2033 and 2026, respectively. If we don't update these programs to reflect the nation's changing demographics, they won't be there for the people who need them.
Second: tax-code reform. The existing code is mired with favoritism and crony capitalism that doesn't drive economic growth. The code should be made simpler and fairer, with rates reduced for individuals and businesses. Otherwise, we'll continue to see American companies relocate abroad, costing jobs in the U.S.
Tax reform should also allow U.S. businesses to bring back the trillions parked overseas because of our uncompetitive corporate tax rate—so they can invest here, creating jobs while also adding money to the Treasury for priorities like paying down the debt.
The "Greatest Generation" had the courage to fight for America's freedom and prosperity. It's time for our leaders today to honor that sacrifice and secure the futures of generations to come.
Sen. Ayotte, a Republican, represents New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate.