Some 100 House Republicans are warning of a national debt growing “exponentially in perpetuity” and how that represents a financial burden for generations to come.
“We’re now spending our grandchildren’s future,” Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Tuesday, ahead of the planned release on Wednesday of an open letter on the issue from the House Republican Study Committee. “Now, you may even be [at] our great-grandchildren, because it takes so long on this trajectory to pay it off.”
Johnson is the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, which comprises nearly 150 GOP members of the House.
“Since the turn of the century, our national debt has nearly quintupled to around $27 trillion (representing a debt of $204,000 per household), and will continue to grow exponentially in perpetuity,” the committee’s letter says.
The aim of the letter is to illustrate to the American people the severity of the national debt, Johnson said.
“Our effort is to start talking about this in terms of what it means to the average American,” the Louisiana Republican said, adding:
Not only do you have a $204,000 household share of this debt, but we have to communicate that the debt really does impact Americans as individuals. You explain that money you earn will go to pay interest to debtholders and China, and not your family.
In addition, the letter says that programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid must be reformed “to avoid draconian cuts and preserve these programs for those who need them,” that national defense investments must be prudent, and that Congress should reject “wasteful federal programs, refuse to subsidize special interests, and eliminate the multiple layers of taxation currently imposed upon individual savings and investment.”
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., the chairman of the Republican Study Committee’s Budget and Spending Task Force, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Tuesday that the country will be failing future generations if it does not correct the current fiscal crisis.
“We understand that future generations can’t sustain the level of debt that we’re growing at the moment,” Banks said. “Most of us completely understand that we have to do more to get the economy back on track. But we can’t do it by damaging the financial viability of our country, future generations. And this letter is a rallying cry as a statement for exactly that.”
The letter says that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the fiscal strain on the country.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic fallout, America’s debt trajectory was on an unsustainable path,” the letter reads. “It has now reached a point of crisis.”
Johnson said returning to a place of fiscal responsibility won’t be easy, but is something that is critical to achieve.
“We have to make difficult choices,” Johnson said, adding:
That is the only way to take care of the country, have to be good stewards of our finances and to fulfill our responsibilities as elected leaders of the people, a government by and for the people.
It has to be governed by people who have, truly, the nation’s best interests at heart. And, you know, it takes real discipline to do that these days, especially when a growing chorus of voices says, ‘Spend as much money as you can possibly conceive.’