Down payment on our future

Published 6:26 pm Monday, November 28, 2005

By By Jo Bonner
Before adjourning for Thanksgiving, the House passed the Deficit Reduction Act. This important legislation demonstrates the resolve of this Congress to be fiscally responsible with your taxpayer dollars.
The Deficit Reduction Act reforms key government programs and achieves $50 billion in savings. This is a down payment on America's future. It is a wise plan to keep our government on sound fiscal footing, and we must continue to reduce our national deficit. In the past 19 months, the national deficit has been reduced $202 billion.
Many of the savings are achieved by reducing the rate of growth of certain bloated federal programs. It should be noted that, we are only slowing the rate of growth for many of these programs. Entitlement spending now consumes about 54% of the total budget, and it will rise to 62% by 2015 if left on its current path. We must begin a longer-term effort to slow the growth of this spending.
This savings is in addition to actual reforms of certain entitlement programs like Medicaid, welfare programs, farm subsidies, and food stamps. Many of these entitlement programs were created decades ago and are in desperate need of reform. Modernization and improvements must be made in order to keep up with the times.
The Deficit Reduction Act contains provisions that trim the deficit and reform government programs including:
As we know too well, the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma has been enormous. We, as a nation, must be committed to recovery, and we must ensure that those involved with rebuilding have the resources needed to restore the Gulf Coast. We must also understand that our obligation does not end with writing big checks.
Natural disasters like these will occur again, and in order to be prepared to afford these in the future, Congress must be responsible with the American people's money. It is imperative that we have a federal budget dynamic enough to assume these costs.
The Deficit Reduction Act makes this possible. Our economy is continuing to grow and create jobs.
President Ronald Reagan once said, "The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that the government spends too much."
These words still ring true today, and this legislation provides another good step in addressing long-term spending challenges in our federal budget.
Giving thanks for our many blessings
It is once again the time of the year when we pause from our busy lives to give thanks for the many blessings our families have received.
In my own life, I am very blessed and fortunate to have a loving wife and two happy and healthy children who make every day of my life a truly special gift.
Representing the 635,300 people of the First District has been extremely gratifying, and I look forward to continuing my work to ensure that our region of Alabama becomes an even brighter example of the best our state has to offer. I am also thankful for the trust and confidence you have shown in me, and I promise to continue to work hard to preserve that trust.
Above all, I am thankful we live in a nation founded on the freedoms and liberty we are able to enjoy. Generations of men and women have sacrificed to make this country the symbol of hope it has become to the world. The coming year will undoubtedly hold new challenges for the United States, and I am confident that by working together as a nation, we will overcome any obstacle in our path.
My staff and I work for you. Please call if we can be of service.
Jo Bonner is a U.S. congressman. His column appears weekly.

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