By U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer and Tom Price, Washington D.C.


From the shop floor at Arctic Cat or behind the counter at Copper Lantern, hardworking Minnesotans have grown wary of Washington's ability to provide the governance they deserve and are rightly frustrated.

Coupled with a sluggish recovery, decades of overspending and kicking the fiscal can down the road have resulted in the uncertainty of perpetual patchwork fixes and bailouts.

As our economy has finally begun to recover, we must address our runaway spending, skyrocketing debt, broken health insurance system and punitive tax code that incentivizes outsourcing and cripples innovation.

In the last century, our economy has been the most productive in the world, thanks to a creative and industrious workforce and a free enterprise system. A century of growth has allowed the highest standard of living the world has known and a safety net for those who have fallen on hard times.

The key to America's success has been and must remain a robust and thriving economy. Unfortunately, systemic obstacles remain, and left unaddressed we will continue to see the same dismal results: stagnate wages, massive deficits and debt and diminished prospects for a brighter future.

In the past six years, real median household income has declined to 20-year lows, and despite the world's largest economy, hourly wages are merely keeping up with inflation. The result is the lowest labor force participation rate in more than 35 years and a government that promises more spending without any plan to pay for it.

We were not sent to Washington to fight for the status quo, but rather to lay a foundation for economic growth, removing the burden on our children and balancing the budget, simplifying the tax code so hardworking taxpayers keep more of what they earn, putting our health and retirement programs on a solid footing and properly funding our military.

Total government spending, thanks in large part to Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare expenses, is estimated to increase to more than 30 percent of GDP by 2039 under current policy, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

President Obama's budget never balances, and increased government spending will cause federal deficits to nearly double from about $500 billion in 2015 to about $1 trillion in 2025, bringing our national debt to more than $25 trillion total.

If the federal government were an American family it would be $311,000 in debt, spending about $9,000 more a year than it makes annually. Most parents understand that continuing down this path would be reckless for themselves and their children. They would alter their behavior to spend within their means and work toward gradually paying down their debt.

This is precisely what the House budget, titled "A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America," does for the federal government and for our country's future.

Our plan balances the federal budget in less than 10 years, without increasing taxes, and it reduces overall government spending by nearly $5.5 trillion over that same period.

By simplifying our broken tax code, lowering marginal and corporate rates, eliminating loopholes, and broadening the tax base, we provide greater incentive for American businesses to innovate, allowing for more job creation and increased household incomes.

We strengthen our health care system by giving states the power and flexibility to provide needed assistance in more efficient and effective ways that best fit their specific communities. Our budget allows us to return decision-making power to the states so that Minnesotans can decide what is best for Minnesota.

In an increasingly dangerous and unstable world, it is vital that our men and women in uniform have the appropriate resources necessary to defend our country. In our budget, Congress not only provides more for our troops, but unlike the President's budget, actually pays for it.

A strong and vibrant economy allows for a powerful and resilient United States, and "A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America" will do that.

Minnesotans know we can do better. The future of our nation, and future generations, depends upon us at this moment. To enact a framework that sets us on a pathway to a healthier economy. For the young entrepreneur to the single mother working two jobs to put food on the table, we have to seize this moment and empower our greatest asset, the American citizen.

This is the opinion of Reps. Tom Emmer and Tom Price. Emmer represents Minnesota's 6th District and is a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Agriculture Committees. Price represents Georgia's 6th District and is the chairman of the House Budget Committee.

This column originally appeared in the St. Cloud Times on April 6, 2015. Click here to view the original.