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'Path to Prosperity' A Long Road; Budget is First Step

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner votes for 2012 budget that dramatically curtails spending.

This opinion column is written by U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls).

It was April 15, 1912 when the “unsinkable” Titanic sank.  As it stands, our growing debt and deficit continue to make our own nation more vulnerable to sinking.  In an effort to better prevent our own Titanic, Friday afternoon, I was proud to vote in favor of Congressman Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2012.  His plan takes the bold and necessary steps to shift our government’s spending priorities.     

For the first time in a long time, Congress is now deciding what spending to cut, not whether to cut spending.  This is a huge and important step in getting our debt and deficit under control, and I’m proud that House Republicans are leading the way. 

Last year, Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats failed to draft a budget for a vote, which caused a near government shutdown recently.  With Republicans now in control of the House, a budget was finally passed that funds the government through September, the end of the 2011 fiscal year.  The budget cuts spending by $39.877 billion compared to the prior year.  It is also $78.5 billion less than what the President requested to spend in FY 2011, and cuts an additional $315 billion out of the budget over the next decade.

These are historic cuts and they are a good start, but we didn’t enter into this fiscal crisis overnight.  This is a problem that has grown over time, so we can’t expect to escape from our fiscal crisis overnight.  Billions of dollars in cuts simply won’t do.

We need more, and that’s why in Congressman Ryan’s FY 2012 budget we move from cutting government spending by BILLIONS of dollars to cutting $6.2 TRILLION.  Sadly, this still won’t solve the entire problem, but it’s a large, bold step towards finally stopping the government from spending money it simply doesn’t have. 

With the vote in favor of Congressman Ryan’s plan, we started an honest debate about getting our spending under control and taking real steps to make that happen by cutting trillions of dollars, reforming the tax code and welfare system, and eliminating wasteful spending.  At the same time, the budget preserves and strengthens the health and retirement programs for those who are currently 55 and older and future retirees.

Our deficit doesn’t exist because American’s are taxed too little; we have a deficit because Washington spends too much, and I commend Congressman Ryan for having the courage to lead on this issue and his work to keep America sailing smoothly.

Jay Sykes April 20, 2011 at 09:11 PM
Charlie C, I made no reference to any of the content that should, or should not have, been included in the budget that the last Congress had an obligation to pass. They only have themselves to blame and they evaded their responsibly to come up with a 2011 fiscal budget; no obstructionism from the other party could have occurred, they had the necessary votes; the President dodged his duty to hold their feet to the fire and make them come up with one. If the term runs out without a budget being past in Wisconsin, I will most certainly make the same statement about the current Wisconsin governmental bodies. I did not vote for one party rule in the most recent election, nor one party rule that occurred because of the prior elections; with divided government everyone must compromise.
tbs April 21, 2011 at 10:09 PM
In all the budgets talks, Democrats fail to remind us that they have controlled Congress since January 2007, Obama was in that Congress with Pelosi and Reid that bypassed Bush and passed massive omnibus spending packages with continuing resolutions to keep the government running until Obama took office. If they want to complain about any deficits they inherited it would be from Democrats who have been on a spending spree for over 4 years...and they complain about Iraq not being paid for, well now Obama has led us into a third war without paying for it. So not only is our debt growing, but gas prices are going up and our dollar is being devalued. Obama/Democrats need to stop pointing fingers and start charting a more responsible course that reins in spending and pass a budget that actually encourages growth and jobs in our private sector.
Lyle Ruble April 21, 2011 at 10:36 PM
@tbs... they have not had exclusive control of the Congress since 2007. They controlled the Senate since 2007, but the house has changed hands twice since 2005. You have to be kidding that the Dems are responsible for the debt and deficit. I've heard of spinning, but this is beyond the pale. Who was the one who started two unfunded wars? Who reduced tax revenues by tax breaks for the highest income Americans? Obama has no control over the price of oil. The only thing that will bring jobs back is for the companies sitting on $1.6 trillion in cash to start buying capital equipment and hiring people.
tbs April 28, 2011 at 11:43 PM
@ Lyle of course the Democrats aren't entirely responsible for the exploding debt. But what have they done to curb it since they have taken office? They have been spending crazy because they think Keynesian economics works. Their version of stimulus spending on wasteful projects or bailing out states that have run up debt didn't produce the jobs Obama promised....Obama's failed stimulus spending policy added billions and billions of dollars of more waste and now when our Congress try to just get back to 2008 levels of spending the Dems say the seniors are going to starve and people thrown out on the streets. PLEASE!!!! Oh that's right Obama got us into a couple of more wars. AND the reason businesses are sitting on the sidelines is because Obama introduced the biggest entitlement program called Health Care. Small businesses are trying to wrap their arms around what that is going to cost them in addition to what new taxes they are going to be saddled with. How about those Dems in Massachussetts? Voting overwhelming to end collective bargaining. HMMMM, where are the union protesters? Why aren't the Dems in Massachussetts being called Hitler or being kicked out of office? What incredible hypocrisy.
Lyle Ruble April 29, 2011 at 12:03 AM
@tbs... Your memory is very convenient. Under whose administration did the economy go to hell in a hand basket? It was Alan Greenspan and his libertarian Rand economic theories that blew up beginning in 2007 and was in full crisis in 2008. Not all Keynesian Economics works and it is obvious that we can't spend our way out of this recession. I don't see how you think Obama got us into a couple more wars. We were already in two unfunded wars and Libya has just popped up. By the way, businesses are sitting on 1.5 trillion in cash. As a business man and the contacts I still have, business would love to have a single payer health plan and not hassle with it. I have to look into the full story about Mass. so I won't comment as yet.

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