(The Center Square) — The country is at a crossroads, yet again facing a crisis over its debt ceiling.
On Thursday, the country hit its debt limit of more than $31 trillion, sparking what is almost certain to be a contentious showdown in Congress.
A newly minted Georgia Congressman says federal lawmakers must be serious about facing down the country’s financial obligations. Otherwise, it will keep kicking the can down the road and leaving the predicament for future generations to handle.
“We have a dishonest discourse on this also,” U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick, R-Georgia, told The Center Square this week. “President Joe Biden just said, ‘the Republicans got it all backwards. You know, I just reduced the budget by half a trillion dollars and then by a trillion dollars in my first two years.’ [He’s] not being honest about the conversation.”
McCormick points to the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill Congress passed last year shortly before wrapping its work as a symptom of Washington’s problem.
“I would love to see us actually handle the budget one item at a time rather than an omnibus,” McCormick said. “That would be a great positive step in the right direction because … right now, [with the] omnibus, you can’t dissect anything.
“…I understand you’re not going to get rid of the deficit in one year. I get that,” McCormick added. “But can we get something this year? Something as we start to reduce the budget? Not in artificial ways — the trillion dollars that we got rid of that ran out — but in a realistic way, what are we doing to address the real budgetary process, and not by omnibus standards.”
In speaking with The Center Square, McCormick acknowledged deficit spending “is a problem on both sides of the aisle.” The key to adjusting the dynamic in Washington is incremental change.
“The liberal estimate, in my opinion, of when we can do that is about 10 years,” McCormick said. While it could happen sooner, it’s “bad timing for the market right now because I think we’re definitely heading towards a depression, in my opinion, and when that happens would not be the right time to balance it instantly.
“So, we do have to have a long-term goal, but we have to start marching that way,” McCormick said. “The problem is we keep on saying, ‘we’re going to balance it in 10 years.’ But then we get two years down the road, we change our mind. And so, we never get honest about this. We’re always kicking the can down the road.”
McCormick acknowledged that eliminating government agencies is difficult once they’re in place. But that doesn’t mean the federal government’s scale can’t be reduced.
“So, how can we get back in balance? You reduce the size of growth of the government, to less than the growth of everything else, the GDP in America,” McCormick said. “If you can put us 1%, even 1%, or 2% under the growth of the GDP, which is going to fluctuate yearly, you’ll come back into balance in a reasonable amount of time.
“But it can’t be a hard, fast dollar amount because that’s going to fluctuate every year,” McCormick said. “Let’s have a realistic conversation like every state does: We’re projecting this much money, and we’re going to budget for this much money; we need some in reserve. Now, if we do that, realistically, we can get back into balance.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor