Op-Ed: Time to Get Serious About Fixing the Debt

The Cincinnati Enquirer | March 25, 2013

Ohio’s congressional delegation must get serious about fixing the debt. In this time of serial self-inflicted fiscal crises, our Ohio leaders are in a powerful position to move Congress toward enacting a comprehensive plan that puts our economy back on track. We must push through the current deadlock between the two parties and find a way to deal with our growing national debt.

The debt problems we face are gigantic. At over $11.8 trillion, the publicly held portion of our national debt is over 73 percent of the size of our economy – the highest share since the 1940s – and it is slated to grow over the coming decades, despite the recent “fiscal cliff” tax increases and “sequester” spending cuts. Even after all of this, the truth is that we just haven’t done enough to get our debt under control.

It’s time for our leaders in Washington to come together and agree on a plan to get our debt under control. Because of the pivotal place in Washington that our representatives from Ohio occupy, they can be instrumental in leading the way to a bipartisan agreement that puts our debt on a downward path as a share of the economy over the long term.

Such a plan must reduce spending through smart cuts to unnecessary and inefficient programs, promote growth through reform to our overly-complex tax code and preserve the integrity of our entitlement programs by passing reforms that make them financially sustainable over the long term.

These reforms will require compromise from both parties and from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, but we owe it to our children and to future generations to stop accumulating more debt to leave on their shoulders.

We Ohioans have an opportunity to play a vital role in this process by showing our senators and representatives we support them in coming together to build a comprehensive plan and in making the hard decisions for the good of our country. We need to let them know that continuing to patch together short-term fixes, like we’ve seen over the past few months, is no longer an option.

The Campaign to Fix the Debt is a nonpartisan organization that is pushing our leaders to do just that. With a coalition of former elected officials, small-business owners, academics and more than 350,000 grassroots members from all around the nation, the Campaign has been building a popular movement to let our leaders know it’s time to stop kicking the can down the road and to finally deal with this issue.

We Ohioans can help. If you haven’t already signed their petition, go to www.fixthedebt.org and add your name. Whether or not you’ve already signed the petition, call or write to your representatives in Congress and let them know that it’s time to use common sense and come together to solve these issues.

Let them know that we can’t afford to let the debt continue to pile up for our children.

Let them know that the Ohio delegation needs to step up and provide the leadership this country so desperately needs. Most importantly, let them know you care about these issues and that you support them in fixing the debt.