Washington needs to grow up

Dave’s Picks: Smooth, Rough and Beautiful
November 15, 2011
Ronald McGee
November 17, 2011

Growing up, my parents taught me that I should never put off until tomorrow what I could do today. Unfortunately, Washington has never learned this lesson; instead, the old guard of the Beltway believes in the motto of “never make a tough decision today that you can buck to a ‘commission’ to report on at a later date.”

On Aug. 2, the U.S. Congress irresponsibly placed our country’s future in the hands of a “Super Committee”, a group 12 senators and members of Congress, tasked to identify ways to reduce the national debt by $1.2 trillion.

I strongly opposed the Super Committee’s formation and the largest debt increase in our nation’s history, which was also included in this legislation. Instead of listening to the will of the American people, the majority of my colleagues chose to follow the ways of old Washington: buck, study, and delay.

Instead of addressing our nation’s debt head on, meeting openly, and discussing real ways to reduce the debt and put our country on a path to prosperity, this Super Committee has met in secret with little public knowledge of their discussions or decisions.

However, two options that have been revealed are proposals that would certainly stifle progress in Louisiana: cut the rice support program and further tax the oil and gas industry. The cut negatively affects Louisiana’s hard-working families, and the tax increase harms one of Louisiana’s top job creators.

More specifically, the Super Committee is strongly considering cutting the mere 16 percent of the Farm Bill that actually supports our south Louisiana rice farmers instead of cutting some of the 73 percent of the Farm Bill that goes to food stamps. Should this happen, Washington will again choose increased government (the food stamp program has grown 76 percent since 2008) over a determined workforce.

Furthermore, the Super Committee is also considering eliminating tax credits to oil producers, which would increase taxes on one of our state’s most proven, job-creating industries. Should this happen, Washington will choose political talking points over American jobs, 58,000 Americans would lose their jobs next year and 165,000 people could lose theirs by 2020.

Needless to say, both scenarios would have catastrophic impacts on our families, friends, and neighbors. But, again, this is what happens when our elected officials choose to follow the orders of Washington bureaucrats over the will of the Louisiana people.

We must fight back. We must demand that Congress make tough decisions not punt them to a Super Committee. We must demand Congress pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. And we must hold our elected officials accountable for their decisions and votes.