Balanced budget: Responsible House plan would foster growth

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A balanced budget is critical for growing a healthier economy, adding jobs and ensuring that we have the money to preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security and promote a strong national defense.

The budget plan approved on March 19 by the House, which I supported, balances in 10 years and will lead to greater economic prosperity for all Americans.

The surging debt and persistent deficits run up by the federal government are not abstractions. They are a threat to our economy, national security, seniors and veterans.

Today, every American's share of the national debt exceeds $53,000. That would pay for a family's groceries for nearly seven years or tuition for a four-year degree at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

To appreciate the burden of debt, consider the liberating effect when you pay off that car loan or get ahead of the credit card bill. You are then free to make other purchasing decisions for your family, you have more freedom to choose and prioritize how to spend your money.

The same principle applies to our national deficit and debt. Getting our debt under control would allow more freedom in how the government spends hard-earned taxpayer dollars. Rather than making interest payments to China, we could be investing in roads or health care.

The law requires the president to propose a budget by the first Tuesday in February.

He is almost eight weeks late. After a four-year wait, the Senate has finally passed a budget. Unfortunately that budget continues the president's failed policies of more spending, more taxes, more regulation and more debt. The American people suffer the consequences: fewer jobs, fewer raises and slower economic growth.

There is a better way. The budget I voted for, in addition to balancing in 10 years, addresses issues important to Pennsylvanians: jobs, taxes, spending, energy and health care.

The budget simplifies the tax code by closing loopholes and lowering rates, and it will allow hard-working Americans to keep more of what they earn, promoting opportunity for the middle class.

The budget calls for responsibly developing our domestic sources of energy, including those in Western Pennsylvania, which will mean more jobs and lower energy prices.

The budget preserves and protects Medicare for current seniors and future generations.

It does not require changes for anyone in or near retirement. Those under 55 would benefit from a choice of plans that includes traditional Medicare. Most importantly, no senior can be denied coverage.

The House balanced budget is critical to growing a healthier economy, fostering job creation and protecting our seniors and veterans.

opinion_commentary

Keith Rothfus, a Republican from Sewickley, represents Pennsylvania's 12th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.


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