The Way Forward
The current fiscal situation of the U.S. government is unsustainable: Congress only deals with one-third of the budget yearly, while borrowing 25 cents on every dollar that is spent. U.S. national debt is higher than it has ever been in any non-wartime era. This cannot go on indefinitely. Getting the budget back on track and stabilizing the national debt will do more than spur the economy. It will also help assure that America’s national security apparatus is prepared and properly equipped should it be needed to wage a sustained war. As Admiral Mike Mullen stated and restated through the years, the debt is still the biggest long-term threat to U.S. security.
The Blueprint for Balance offers a solution to the current situation. Following its recommendations would balance the budget by 2024 and put the national debt on a declining path. From then, it would be a matter of maintaining the newly re-established fiscal discipline and exercising the consistent vigilance required to deal with budgetary surpluses. A balanced budget amendment would be the best method of ensuring fiscal discipline over the long-term.
There are many ways to move beyond America's current financial problems and build a society that can protect itself and live within its means. It is a political choice that, for too long, politicians have simply avoided making. That must change—and soon.
Frederico Bartels is a policy analyst specializing in defense budgeting at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense.
Justin Bogie is a senior policy analyst in the think tank’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies.
Image: Sheets of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on the five-dollar bill currency are seen through a magnifying glass at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington March 26, 2015. The 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination at Ford's Theatre in Washington is April 15. REUTERS/Gary Cameron