To the Editor:
After years of shutdowns, stalemates, and sequesters, the appropriations bill that passed Congress on time and with a large majority last week might seem like a bipartisan breakthrough. To the contrary, it was the very worst kind of compromise: Democrats and Republicans taking turns at spending billions of dollars on their respective policy priorities without making tough decisions about how to pay for them.
Democrats wanted more spending on domestic programs, while Republicans wanted more spending on the military. Democrats wanted to continue tax breaks for working families, while Republicans wanted to continue tax breaks for small business. Both parties got what they wanted going into an election year, but once again, we the people picked up the tab.
The 2,009-page and $1.8 trillion bill busted previously agreed-to spending caps by $66 billion and reduced government revenue by an additional $680 billion. In total, the bill will saddle us and future generations with over $2 trillion in more debt over the next 20 years, according to the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
If it wasn’t already abundantly clear, there is no party of fiscal responsibility. Indeed, no matter which party is in charge, our government keeps growing and our debt keeps rising.
Within ten years, our national debt will surpass $20 trillion, and annual deficits will surpass $1 trillion. Meanwhile, a greater portion of government spending will fund obligations from the past and a smaller portion will be invested in our future. It is unsustainable. It is irresponsible. And it is immoral.
While Rep. Tom Marino (R, PA-10) said he voted against the bill because it tackled more than one issue at a time (reflecting a naive conception of the legislative process), his statement did not make a single mention of the massive amount of money the legislation added to our national debt. And it was only one year ago the Congressman broke his promise and voted in favor of the $1.1 trillion so-called “cromnibus” appropriation that was packed with $30 billion in budget gimmicks and didn’t reduce our deficit by a dime.
Fortunately, one businessman in the 10th District, Jerry Kairnes, is sounding the alarm. Jerry is a political independent from Lycoming County, and he is considering challenging Rep. Marino in the next election. On his website (www.JerryKairnes.com), Jerry says, “I won’t tell my kids and grandkids that they’ll have to work longer hours and keep less of their pay than I did in order to pay off a debt that we ran up.” Jerry is seeking support from citizens across the district to launch his campaign next year. I have pledged my support by making a contribution on his website, and hope other concerned citizens pledge theirs, too.
Our country is broke, financially and politically. If we keep voting along party lines and reelecting incumbents, nothing will change. We need a new wave of leaders to declare their independence from today’s bankrupt parties and help get our fiscal house in order –– so that we can tackle the other large challenges we face and ensure greater opportunity, prosperity, and security for all Americans.
(From MilfordNow: Hailing from Milford, Pa., Nick Troiano is a Delaware Valley High School graduate, He earned a Master’s degree in American government from Georgetown University, where he also completed his undergraduate studies with honors. In 2012, Nick co-founded The Can Kicks Back campaign to advocate for bipartisan policies to reduce the national debt. He ran for Congress in 2014, from Pennsylvania’s 10th District. He now works for Change.org and lives in San Francisco.)
Submitted by: Nick Troiano, Milford