John Boehner in USA Today: We can't ignore our debt

John Boehner: We can't ignore our debt
By John Boehner
USA Today
May 22, 2012

The American people continue to ask "where are the jobs?" and the overspending going on in Washington, D.C., is a big part of the reason why. Our national debt, which has grown significantly due to President Obama's failed "stimulus" policies, is a drain on our economy and a crushing burden on our kids and grandkids.

Last month, a USA TODAY editorial called our debt and deficits "an increasingly urgent national crisis." It is, and one we cannot ignore. Unfortunately, inaction is exactly what the president and members of his party have in mind. They went into a state of panic recently when I said we should talk about — and yes, actually solve — the debt problem that's hurting our economy. There have even been suggestions that these calls for action to heal our economy are somehow designed to do it harm.

Talking about our debt isn't the problem — failing to fix it is. Last August, Standard & Poor's announced it was downgrading the nation's credit rating because a budget agreement between the president and Congress "falls short of the amount we believe is necessary to stabilize the general government debt burden."

Why did that agreement fall short? When push came to shove, President Obama could not resist political pressure to push for tax hikes on small-business job creators. We were on the verge of a breakthrough agreement, but he moved the goal posts and walked away. The president lost his courage, and the country lost its gold-plated triple-A credit rating for the first time.

Since then, the president has been in campaign mode — playing small ball at a time when we need to address big challenges. Until we get a grip on our debt, our economy will continue to suffer and we run the risk of another downgrade, which will make job creation ever harder. Americans deserve a better economic future and an administration willing to tackle this debt crisis before it tackles us.

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is speaker of the House of Representatives.