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$15 trillion debt is state of the union

President can use speech to lead

January 24, 2012

The nation’s debt crisis should be the focus of the President’s State of the Union address, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., one of the Senate’s two accountants and a senior member on the Senate Budget Committee. Enzi believes the President can still lead the nation on this issue by acknowledging the extent of the nation’s debt crisis and taking bold steps to enact strong debt-reducing measures. He had the following comments before the President’s speech:

“The debt crisis is the most important issue facing our country, and the President should address it head on. Rather than using tonight’s speech as another stop on his re-election campaign, he should put forth a bold plan to reduce the national debt. We’re in a hole and it’s simply time to put down the shovel.  

“Unfortunately, his advisors have suggested that he will focus on the need to raise taxes on wealthy Americans - without any promise of spending cuts or any attempt to make the tax code fairer for everyone. The President may continue to use the idea of ‘income inequality.’ This is an attempt to incite class warfare in an election year. It is not the federal government’s place to pick winners and losers, but to provide everyone with the opportunity of achieving success.

“Our country is at a crossroads that will either push us to a similar fate as Greece or put us back on the road to prosperity. The President needs to acknowledge our nation’s fiscal disorder. If he faces up to it so will the American people. He needs to lead us, not pander and politic. When we fully accept where we are, we can work together to solve this crisis before it’s too late.   

“Last year, I remember hoping that the President would use his primetime address to paint the same bleak fiscal picture as his Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission did, but no such luck. The President decided to focus on a laundry list of spending he wanted to see passed, instead of a national ‘call to arms’ to reduce our deficit and stop spending money we don’t have. The President’s last proposed budget would have continued this unsustainable spending trend, but it was rejected unanimously (97-0 against) in the Senate.

“To lead, you have to be bold. To follow, you have to be told. The President can use his time tonight to be the transformational leader he was believed to be when he was elected. Tackling a $15 trillion debt is a daunting task, but if he is serious about solving this crisis, Congress and the American people will get behind him.”