Getting America's fiscal house in order
Our national debt is large, unsustainable and dangerous. Democrats, Republicans and independent experts all agree that excessive debt hurts our competitiveness and crowds out critical investments in our country's future, in areas like education, infrastructure, research and development, and defense.
As the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said, “the most significant threat to our national security is our debt.”
It is essential for members of both parties to come together and support balanced, responsible deficit reduction to get our nation’s finances back into balance. As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Coons’ budget and deficit reduction priorities include:
- Going big. Nearly all economists agree that we need to save at least $4 trillion over 10 years if we are to stabilize our debt. Chris is committed to a balanced solution that reduces our deficit by at least that much.
- Finding responsible savings. This includes savings in military and non-military discretionary spending. The Budget Control Act, passed in 2011, includes more than $1 trillion in discretionary spending cuts. As we pursue additional spending reforms, we should do so in a way that protects the most vulnerable in our society as well as our fragile economic recovery.
- Reforming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. A serious deficit reduction plan must soberly acknowledge the expanding cost of Medicare and include reforms to vital programs that hard-working Americans have paid into. Chris believes we must find ways to improve quality and efficiency while reducing costs for everyone. Reform is necessary to ensure Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will be there for Americans for years to come.
- Enacting comprehensive tax reform. Our tax system is overly complicated and loaded down with giveaways, deductions and loopholes that unfairly favor the wealthiest individuals and corporations. A comprehensive deficit reduction deal must include tax reform that simplifies the tax code and closes unsustainable and costly loopholes while lowering rates and raising revenue.
- Strengthening a fragile recovery. As we continue to dig out of a long, difficult recession, we must be careful to ensure that we do not put our economic recovery in jeopardy with rapid, draconian budget cuts to key programs. Economists agree that budget reforms should be phased in over time to protect our economic recovery.
- Building a “circle of protection.” Our most fundamental values as Americans require us to put a circle of protection around the most vulnerable members of our society. We simply cannot balance the budget on the backs of our children, our senior citizens or the lowest-income Americans. Decimating vital safety nets for most vulnerable will not solve our budget challenges, but it would damage our core values.