Last night Hugh Hewitt spent three hours with Representative John Campbell talking about the debt crisis.It was an amazingly educational show.
Representative Campbell’s House of Representatives web page lists some of his committee assignments:
As a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, he has taken an active part in addressing the country’s top economic issues, including mortgage lending, corporate governance, banking reform, and insurance regulation. Through the recent economic crisis, he was influential in the responses to the crisis that averted a collapse in our markets and economy. Currently, he serves on the Capital Markets and International Monetary Policy subcommittees.
John also serves on the House Committee on the Budget, where he has had a hand in crafting portions of The Roadmap for America’s Future. This plan championed by Congressman Paul Ryan contains a comprehensive proposal to ensure health and retirement security for all Americans, to lift the debt burdens that are mounting due to reckless spending, to reform and simplify the tax code, and to promote jobs and competitiveness in the 21st century global economy. John is also a leading author of the Taxpayer Choice Act, which would make America’s tax system simpler and fairer by providing the opportunity to take advantage of an optional flat tax, in addition to repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
As a Certified Public Accountant and a former small business owner, Representative Campbell provided a lot of insight into where we are in terms of our current financial crisis.
America crossed over its debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion on December 31st. What that means is that the government cannot issue any new debt. The government is required, at least temporarily, to live within their means.
There were three main points to the discussion:
1. The debt crisis is coming and it could occur at any moment.
2. The debt crisis is caused by a spending problem–not a tax problem.
3. There are immediate spending reforms that would address the problem.
One of the things that I learned from the program is how Washington spends money. There is discretionary spending and mandatory spending. Discretionary spending includes defense, government agencies, etc. Mandatory spending includes all entitlement programs. The three main entitlement programs are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Other entitlement programs include food stamps, student loans, etc. These two types of spending are funded in different ways–discretionary spending has to be approved by Congress every year and signed into law by the President. Mandatory spending is already law, and unless Congress acts to change it, the spending automatically occurs. Therefore, when President Obama says that raising the debt ceiling is only paying the bills that Congress has voted for, he is not being entirely accurate.
We are in financial crisis. Unless the spending is slowed, we will continue to see high unemployment and slow economic growth. Until more Americans begin to pay attention and vote for economic growth, rather than against it, America will continue to decline.