Frank Wolf op-ed in WaPo

Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) has an op-ed in the Washington Post today in which he writes about just how serious our nation's fiscal problems are and the kind of leadership necessary to bring us back from the brink, while praising the Fiscal Commission for achieving bipartisan support for its outline to reduce the debt and applauding the efforts of the "Gang of Six" in the Senate for trying to tackle the politics and the policy head on.

Congressman Wolf writes:

"I applaud the “Gang of Six” — Sens. Saxby Chambliss, my Virginia colleague Mark Warner, Tom Coburn, Dick Durbin, Mike Crapo and Conrad, chairman of the Budget Committee — for taking up the mantle to put the Bowles-Simpson concept into a legislative plan. They recognize that addressing the debt and the deficit isn’t a simple exercise in rooting out waste, fraud and abuse; eliminating earmarks; and reining in discretionary spending. To be sure, those are important reforms, but alone they won’t come close to solving the crisis. The senators agree that, like the SAFE process envisioned, and as painful as it may be, everything — including what I call tax earmarks for companies and other special interests — must be on the table.

It is disappointing that some have attacked these senators for daring to engage in a discussion that has tax reform as an option. Americans for Tax Reform, led by Grover Norquist, has engaged in bullying tactics designed specifically to stop Coburn’s call for eliminating the ethanol subsidy. The tax code will never be overhauled if any attempt to eliminate a tax expenditure — spending through the tax code — is equated with a tax increase.

Look, too, at the $14.2 billion in profits posted by General Electric, of which $5.1 billion came from operations within the United States. Not only did GE pay no federal taxes, it also claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, initially designed as short-term tax breaks to spur economic growth. Once a tax cut is enacted, it is nearly impossible to eliminate (see the ethanol subsidy). If these are not examples of why everything must be included in our budget discussions, I don’t know what is.

This discussion also demands presidential leadership. Before his speech at George Washington University last month, the president barely acknowledged the work of his own deficit commission. I was disappointed that he failed to offer specific solutions and seemed more interested in staking out political positions than finding common ground. He cannot continue to bob and weave as the financial storm closes in.

This is an American issue, not a Republican or Democratic one. We have been warned. There is never an easy time to make hard decisions, but the economic reality is that the financial markets could soon dictate drastic options if we don’t have the fortitude to look at everything and agree on a plan to ensure a prosperous future for our children and grandchildren."

Click here to read Congressman Wolf's full piece.