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Government cannot continue empty promises

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Rep. Paul Ryan
May 12, 2011

I want to thank those who attended the 19 listening sessions I held recently throughout southern Wisconsin. I was grateful that so many of my employers came out to learn about the “Path to Prosperity,” share their thoughts on federal legislation and voice their opinions at these forums—and do so in a respectful manner.


At each listening session, I heard from Wisconsinites who are hungry for solutions to the major economic challenges that we face as a nation. For far too long, leaders in Washington have avoided the tough decisions. Decades of inaction by both parties has left us with a $14.3 trillion debt and a “fiscal gap”—promises the government has made through programs such as Medicare and Social Security for which it has no money to pay—of more than $90 trillion.


Although no one person or party is solely responsible for the looming debt crisis, one fact is clear: The status quo is irresponsible and unsustainable. We no longer can disregard the warning signs. Failing to rein in spending and address the root causes of our debt would simply mean darker days ahead with tougher and fewer choices available to Americans.


We deserve more from our government than empty promises, and we owe it to our children and grandchildren to enact a plan that allows us to keep the promises government has made and leave future generations with a debt-free nation.


We cannot solve our fiscal problems without keeping economic growth at the forefront of our debates. My belief is that we can avoid austerity and choose prosperity instead, but to do so, we must restore the four foundations of economic growth:


1) We must stop spending money we don’t have and address the structural drivers of our debt.


2) We must restore sanity to the regulatory environment so regulations are fair, transparent and predictable.


3) We must keep tax rates low and predictable so job creators have incentives to invest in America.


4) We must refocus the Fed on price stability because businesses and families need sound money.


A lot of people in Washington want to solve our budget problems without paying any political cost, and they think class warfare makes for good politics. But once we open the door to this way of thinking, there is no limit to how high taxes will go.


These are difficult issues with passionately felt differences over how to address them. The government did not dig this fiscal hole overnight, and we won’t get out of it overnight.


But the good news is this: The empty promises and scare tactics used by defenders of the status quo aren’t working. Wisconsinites understand that we cannot keep spending money we don’t have. We are eager to make a clean break from the politics of the past and advance solutions to our nation’s most pressing challenges. As the 1st District representative in Congress, I will continue to do just that—and do so by listening to those I serve.


Readers can contact U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesville by sending mail to his Janesville Constituent Services Center, 20 S. Main St., Suite 10, Janesville, WI 53545; Washington, D.C., phone (202) 225-3031; send email through https://paulryan.house.gov/Contact/defajult.aspx.

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