Republicans of all political stripes share a commitment to fiscal responsibility and less government spending. When it comes to social issues or foreign policy, we may have differing opinions, but we are all bound together by the bedrock principle that the American citizens – not Washington politicians – know best how to spend our hard-earned money.
That’s what drew me to the GOP as a young man. Coming from a broken home with a single mom who spent time on welfare, I quickly learned the value of a dollar. A few cents saved here or there could make the difference between us having food on the table at night or going hungry.
We need to apply that lesson to the federal government if we ever hope to get a handle on our skyrocketing debt and deficits. But to do that, we must first change the make-up of our current government.
Democrats do not believe that we have spending problem. They refuse to acknowledge the obvious, and would prefer to continue spending our country into oblivion on expensive and ever-expanding entitlement programs like ObamaCare. If Democrats had their way, we’d keep running up the national credit card and worry about the consequences later.
For a preview on how that movie ends, take a look at Greece or many of the other European countries on the brink of fiscal insolvency thanks to the spend-at-all-costs mentality of left-wing governments over there.
Right now, Republicans control one half of one third of our government. With President Obama in the White House and Democrats running the Senate, we don’t have the ability to take the drastic steps our country needs to get our fiscal house in order.
That could all change in November when 21 Democratic-held Senate seats are up for grabs, including many in states carried by Governor Romney in 2012. In many of these places, Obamacare’s unpopularity is dragging down the re-election chances of incumbents whose support made the bill possible.
But we can’t win back the Senate if the American people see us only as the “party of no” who is best known for shutting down the government last fall. The 17-day shutdown last October was a total and complete disaster. It distracted the country from the embarrassing rollout of Obamacare, and gave the Democrats a political weapon to use against us.
Since then, we’ve re-focused on the important issues, and the political winds have shifted in our favor. That’s why House and Senate leadership should be commended for getting the issue of the debt ceiling off the table this week. No Republican wants to keep borrowing and raising the debt ceiling. It’s a bad option. But a worse option would be another standoff or shutdown that makes it harder for us to win back the Senate and enact the meaningful changes our country needs.
Once we’re in charge of the Senate in 2015 and the White House in 2017, Republicans can once again lead as the party of fiscal responsibility. We can end the Democrats’ spending spree and cut up their credit cards.
We can finally pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that requires the federal government to spend less than it takes in. That principle works for 49 states and families all across this country – it’s time to apply it to Washington as well.
We can make sure that there is never another wasteful stimulus package like the one in 2009 that added to the debt but not the employment numbers. And we can enact real policies that will create a favorable environment for the private sector to thrive, creating more jobs and increased revenue in the process.
So while it’s always unpleasant to increase the debt ceiling, the decision to do so this week was the right one. It is a means to an end that will result in good things for both Republicans and the fiscal health of America.
Scott Brown is a Fox News contributor and served as the Republican senator from Massachusetts from 2010-2013. He was one of the ranking members of the Armed Services Committee, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and was a member of the Veterans and Small Business Committees. He also served 35 years in the Army National Guard, with the last four years being at the Pentagon. He recently retired at the rank of colonel. Follow Sen. Brown on Twitter@senscottbrown and like him on Facebook.