MY VIEW: Jim Kolbe January 2013

Yesterday, CRFB board member and former Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) illustrated in The Arizona Republic that only a package that includes substantial reform of both entitlements and the tax code will be enough to fix our unsustainable national debt problem. Kolbe explains that simply cutting discretionary spending further nor reducing the "holy trinity of waste, fraud, and abuse" will be enough get our deficits under control.

Rather, we must be willing to make the tough choices and turn our attention to our broken tax code and increasingly costly entitlement programs. Kolbe writes:

About 45 percent of government spending goes to three programs — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But, this percentage will keep growing at an ever faster rate as our population ages unless we are willing to rethink how they could work better and more fairly for all generations.

As for the tax code, while our rates are, even in the wake of the recent “fiscal cliff” deal, moderate compared with many other countries, our tax laws are riddled with loopholes, exemptions and deductions, which curb government resources while creating inefficiencies in our economy.

That’s the long-term problem. We have another, more immediate problem. Though our elected leaders in Washington managed to restrain the country from tumbling off the fiscal cliff, one part of the deal they made was to merely delay the nearly across-the-board national security and domestic program “sequestration” spending cuts — cuts that would cost Arizona 50,000 jobs if they are allowed to go into effect as scheduled in March.

Only a program that addresses both sides of the ledger — spending and revenue — is a credible solution to our out-of-control debt. President Obama and members of Congress need to come together to craft such an agreement.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the committee.