Wednesday, the Alabama Political Reporter asked Republican Senate candidates about how they intend to deal with the national debt. The debt grew during the Global War on Terror, grew during the TARP bank bailout, grew during those slow painful years of economic recovery following the Great Recession. Now the economy is booming; but the deficit is still over a $trillion dollars and there is no balanced budget in sight.
GOP candidates: former Chief Justice Roy Moore, Congressman Bradley Byrne, businessman Stanley Adair and State Representative Arnold Mooney all submitted responses to APR on the worsening debt crisis.
“Our national debt is out of control,” Moore told APR. “This is not a new problem. George Washington, in his farewell address, said that ‘As a very important source of strength and security (we should) cherish public credit.’”
Moore told APR that the debt is a bipartisan problem.
“Both parties are responsible,” Moore said. “This past July Democrats and Republicans agreed to suspend the debt limit until after the 2020 elections, enabling a $50 billion hike in spending on Democrat welfare programs and Republican defense initiatives for public support in an election cycle.”
“We can’t continue to ignore our debt crisis,” Congressman Bradley Byrne told APR. “A critical first step is passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to our Constitution. Families, businesses, states, counties and cities must have balanced budgets. Why should the federal government not have to play by the same rules? That’s why I’ve introduced a Balanced Budget Amendment and fought hard against wasteful government spending.”
“Our deficit is now twenty-two trillion dollars,” businessman Stanley Adair told APR. “The CBO now predicts it will grow in the next ten years to a staggering thirty-three trillion dollars. This is unsustainable. We must have responsible fiscal policies. We cannot continue to raise the debt ceiling without any substantial change in fiscal spending. The size of government needs to be reduced and resources can be more efficiently prioritized without relying on tax increases. The country is moving forward and the economy in growing at a better rate than expected and with this growth we can expect more revenue. However, we need to pass a Balanced Budget amendment. I believe we can balance the budget by reducing the wasteful spending. We must return to the principles of fiscal responsibility.”
“We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem,” State Rep. Arnold Mooney told APR. “We have decades of budgets based on fake math written by career politicians in Washington who are obsessed with getting re-elected and can’t see beyond the next campaign. This kind of thing is the exact reason I’m running: to put a stop to it and save America for my children and grandchildren.”
“Inflation continues to grow,” Moore warned. “A dollar in 1913 would be nearly $26 today since the gold standard was discarded and the Federal Reserve began to create money. Our monetary system is unsound because it is based on fiat currency, and public credit is ignored by both parties to the detriment of our Country and its citizens.”
“The biggest driver of our debt is mandatory spending, specifically welfare programs that are allowed to continue to grow without any constraints,” Rep. Byrne explained. “We have forgotten that these programs were designed to lift people out of poverty, not keep people down. I’m committed to reining in these programs, taking them off auto-pilot, and making sure we are actually succeeding in helping people get out of poverty. These welfare programs amount to almost $1 trillion so getting control of them and cutting their cost will have a substantial positive effect on the deficit.”
“Medicare, Medicaid and socialist programs like Obamacare will only worsen the problem to the detriment of the American public who continue to see outlandish inflation and a deterioration of our national sovereignty among the world powers,” Moore stated. “Politics must yield to principles of sound monetary policy. Our congressional representatives of both parties in the House and the Senate must take a stand against the continued increase and national debt.”
“We must stop wasteful spending!” Moore said. “A return to sound money based on the gold standard, a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, and a reformation of our tax system based upon a ‘fair tax,’ wherein citizens would be taxed only on purchases of new goods and services would help remedy the problem. A constitutional amendment under Article 5 of the United States Constitution is the only way to stop irresponsible government spending.”
The national debt is $22,535 billion. Gross Domestic Product is at $21,349 billion. The deficit has soared to $1,002 billion and is increasing even though we are at full employment and GDP is up 13.5 percent over 2016. Federal spending is $4,512 billion. The largest components of federal spending are: Medicare and Medicaid at $1,173 billion per year (26 percent of federal spending); Social Security at $1,035 billion (23 percent of federal spending); defense at $642 billion (14.3 percent); Interest on the debt at $379 billion (8.4 percent); income security programs (including the earned income tax credit, school lunches, SSI, unemployment, foster care, etc.) at $298 billion (6.6%), federal pensions at $287 billion (6.4%) and USDA at $156 billion (3.5%) of which ~$76 billion is SNAP, still commonly referred to as food stamps (1.7%).
Former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville and Secretary of State John Merrill are also running for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones.
The Alabama Republican Party is optimistic that their eventual nominee can take the Senate seat away from Jones.
The major party primaries will be on March 3 with the general election scheduled for November 3.