Letter Regarding the House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's Budget Outline
April 5, 2011
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, urges Congress to address America’s enormous fiscal challenges – a broken and outdated tax code and an unsustainable build-up of debt driven by out-of-control increases in entitlement spending.
The Chamber believes that Congress must make, as the President’s Fiscal Commission recommended, the difficult decisions to address our long-term fiscal challenges, even as Congress works to address the urgent problems of today.
The Chamber applauds House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who began this process with the release of his budget outline to rein in spending, deficits, and debt while reforming our nation’s broken tax code and restructuring entitlements to ensure they protect current generations while beginning to preserve critical health and retirement security programs for future generations.
The mountains of debt being accumulated will weaken our dollar, encourage inflation, put upward pressure on interest rates, make us more dependent on foreign sources of capital, and ultimately send our future wealth abroad to the people from whom we borrowed.
The biggest reason for this long-term debt explosion is the system of entitlements. The Chamber recognizes that many Republicans and Democrats in Washington understand that reforming entitlements is essential to making a real dent in the debt.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has released a budget blueprint that provides a pathway for reforming a broken tax system to make America more competitive, and confront the escalating entitlement costs, which are drivers of the nation’s debt, thereby avoiding a massive tax increase.
There is simply no way spiraling spending and mounting debt can be sustained without economically crippling tax increases.
There is simply no way to make a significant dent in projected deficits without action steps to overhaul Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, and other mandatory spending programs, which make up approximately 60% of the budget.
Although this budget blueprint does not make major changes to Social Security, it sets forth specific procedural changes that open the way for modification of Social Security to reflect today’s demographic reality.
It is a budget blueprint that takes the spending curve and bends it downward.
The Chamber recognizes that this budget proposal will trigger a debate over the size and scope of government and spending priorities that will reverberate for months. This debate is long overdue; it is exactly and specifically the debate the country needs to have and the Congress must lead to address our nation’s fiscal challenges.
The cost of doing nothing is not acceptable.
By 2048, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the debt are expected to equal all federal revenues. According to the Government Accountability Office, debt held by the public may surpass the post-World War II high of 109 percent of the economy by 2025. More debt means fewer American jobs and slower economic growth.
The time for action is now.
The Chamber welcomes this opportunity to work with Congress and the Administration to promote job creation and economic growth.
R. Bruce Josten