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Commentary: A new federal budget to get our fiscal house in order

July 24, 2017
Editorials
The following was written by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

The federal government has a spending problem. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports the simple, sober truth: “The federal government is on an unsustainable fiscal path.” Programs like Medicare and Social Security face insolvency in just a few short years.  Meanwhile, the high level of debt reduces investment, productivity, wages, and the incentive to work, shrinking the economy.

This year, the federal government is projected to bring in more than $3.3 trillion in taxes – the highest level ever. But, because the government will spend more than $4 trillion – again, the highest level in our nation’s history – the deficit will increase to approximately $700 billion.

The growth of spending in recent years has been astronomical. In 1970, the entire federal budget was less than $200 billion – less than one quarter of what we spend on just welfare programs today. The trillion-dollar mark was not reached until 1987. It took until 2002 to reach $2 trillion, but only until 2009 to top $3 trillion. Just six years later, we are recording our first $4 trillion year.

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