The Ripon Forum

Volume 44, No. 4

Fall 2010 Issue

“What Do We Do Now?”

By on October 21, 2014

“Stop this spending spree.”

by LYNN JENKINS

If 1994 was the year of Newt Gingrich and 2008 was the year of Barack Obama, then 2010 is undoubtedly the year of the American people. This year the people stood up and said enough is enough. The question is – will we listen this time?

Democrats thought they were listening after 2008. They believed the 2008 election was “transformational.” In their estimation, an American electorate that had been suspect of big government since its inception had suddenly changed its mind. Democrat leaders believed that Americans were calling for more government, more entitlements, more mandates and more spending. Driven by this false assumption, Nancy Pelosi and President Obama pushed through an ambitious agenda that not only grew the size and scope of the federal government but grew our national debt to once unimaginable levels. They were wrong.

The new Republican majority has a tough road ahead of them and they must get it right. Democrat leadership turned a mess into a complete disaster and our immediate priority has to be returning stability to our economy and with that, an increase in private sector job creation. I strongly believe that Americans want measured, fiscally responsible policies returned to Washington, D.C.

When I practiced as a CPA, I learned to look at both sides of the ledger – both revenues and expenditures. If Congress is to take fiscal discipline seriously, that means we must first stop this spending spree. The first step should be to take the nearly $400 billion of the failed stimulus bill that has not yet been spent and use it to reduce our $1 trillion deficit and impose some much needed fiscal discipline.

If Congress is to take fiscal discipline seriously, that means we must first stop this spending spree.

The second step should be to get the federal government out of the way so the private sector can get America back to work. The reduction in federal expenditures will help to reduce the prevailing belief that higher taxes are coming. However, to drive this point home, Congress must permanently extend both the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. With a $3.8 trillion tax hike looming over American families and small business, is it any wonder the Nation’s economy has been frozen by uncertainty?

Finally, during my years in public accounting I learned that the first step to overcoming a financial crisis is to obtain a complete understanding of one’s financial situation and then craft a budget. To ensure continued stability and job growth it is imperative that the next Congress begin to practice responsible budgeting. That means passing a budget and placing a hard cap on discretionary spending and returning all spending to pre-stimulus and pre-bailout levels.

As I said, Republicans have an uphill battle ahead, but hopefully those of us representing the new class of conservatives have learned from mistakes in the recent past and will listen to the American people. I look forward to working side by side with my colleagues in the House to get this Nation back on the right track. RF

Lynn Jenkins represents the 2nd Congressional District of Kansas in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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