Our country’s biggest challenges are our deficits and debt.
Healthcare is a tragic, terrible mess. Federal tax reform is needed but hopelessly blocked by political reality. Burdensome federal regulations are flowing like Champagne at a wedding.
And yet none of these problems comes close to the biggest challenge we face as a nation: the looming threat of catastrophic deficits that will dwarf current shortfalls unless entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are reformed.
You already know how bad our current deficits (about $680 billion this year) and total debt (about $17 trillion) are. But did you know that our spending is on an unswerving track of automatic increases? Today, 66 percent of our federal budget is already on autopilot for spending on Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, food stamps and interest on the debt. If we don’t reform entitlements, in 10 years only 24 percent of the federal budget will be negotiable, with 76 percent on autopilot.
I encourage you to read about NFIB’s support for an amendment to the Constitution that could be the first step toward averting that catastrophe. The new constitutional amendment would require a balanced federal budget. This common-sense idea—hardly radical to business owners, as you must balance your budgets to stay in business—has been bubbling at the state level for decades. Now, a new push is underway. If you’d like to work with your NFIB state director on this effort, go to www.NFIB.com/MyState.
I can’t think of a better New Year’s resolution for the nation, can you?
We have to make tough choices, as a country, to deal with our deficits and debt. We must ask ourselves whether future generations should have to pay for what is increasingly a very high quality of life for their parents and grandparents. In fact, today’s 65-year-olds will receive lifetime benefits of about $327,000 per person, while children born now will suffer net lifetime losses of more than $420,000 apiece in order to pay the bills of older Americans.
Younger generations are undeniably threatened by our own comfortable future and by bad policy like Obamacare. When do we decide it’s time to give them a break? Take a look at our story about how to support young entrepreneurs, and ask yourself what you want for the next generation: the current threat of unending debt obligatons or an environment where they have as many opportunites—if not more—than we’ve had?
As you begin the New Year, you likely have a plan for sales and debts—how you will manage your cash flow, what you need to put aside for taxes, how many employees you will have this year and more. But you’re also looking at the longer term—your own retirement and the future of your business. If your long-term financial picture looks unbalanced, you will act accordingly. It’s what you do when you’re financially responsible.
The fact that the federal government hasn’t been going through that exercise is inexcusable. With a balanced budget amendment, it finally might.