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Despite the present era of acrimony and hyperpartisanship in Washington, last year saw passage of several measures with bipartisan support: the First Step Act, the VA MISSION Act, and the Right To Try Act. These successes show that our representatives can still work together to break down barriers for our fellow citizens.

This year has been a different story. Yes, there was broad support from both parties for the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, as its name indicates. But rather than lifting burdens off the shoulders of American families, the act, signed into law Aug. 2, imposes new ones on them and future generations.

According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the new law will add an additional $1.7 trillion to the debt over the next decade, increasing it from the current 78 percent of gross domestic product to 97 percent.

By then, the total debt will be over $24 trillion. Using population projections, by 2029, our debt will total nearly $100,000 for every American.

An ever-increasing national debt will have dire consequences on jobs and the economy. If this national trend continues, real gross national product would be 3.6 percent lower in 30 years, amounting to $3,400 less per person by 2049.

In addition to this very direct impact, the national debt will hurt Americans in other ways. As the government spends more on interest payments to service the debt, it will have less to spend on other priorities, including national defense.

There is a better way: Our leaders in Washington need to pass a budget to reduce the national debt and take us off the path of mutually assured de(bt)struction.

Our fiscal situation is such that, in a world rife with threats from rival powers, rogue states, and terrorist organizations, national defense and intelligence leaders identify the debt as our greatest national security problem.

The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, called the debt "the single biggest threat to our national security." He added that "if we didn't get control of our debt, there would be continued loss of confidence in America."

Outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats agreed with Admiral Mullen's assessment, saying, "Our increasing fractious political process, particularly with respect to federal spending, is threatening our ability to properly defend our nation both in the short term and especially in the long term."

In Arkansas, we give credit where credit's due. Sen. Tom Cotton, Rep. Rick Crawford and Rep. Bruce Westerman were among the 28 senators and 149 representatives across the political spectrum who boldly voted against the latest budget. In fact, Senator Cotton introduced a bill last month to prevent the government from using tax money to bail out state and local governments.

If we do nothing to change the current fiscal path, we can expect a world where Americans are more vulnerable to external threats and the uncertainties of life. It's our hope the rest of the Arkansas delegation will show they also have the guts to act with urgency to reduce the debt and help ensure a prosperous future for ourselves and our families.


Ryan Norris is Arkansas state director of Americans for Prosperity.

Editorial on 08/16/2019

Print Headline: RYAN NORRIS: Reduce the debt

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