Much is made of a question in a Republican presidential debate in which the candidates were asked if they would accept a debt reduction deal that had $10 in spending cuts for one dollar in tax increases. The right answer would have been: The acceptable amount of anti-growth tax increases is zero. However, revenue increases that come from eliminating market-distorting tax preferences and from pro-growth tax changes, combined with a real entitlement spending overhaul, is indeed a grand bargain.
We must not lose sight of the critical nature of entitlement spending changes. We cannot tax our way out of our debt problem — the total of Obama’s tax hike package covers only 8 percent of the deficit. Big time economic growth is essential to eliminating the debt, but even that will not do it alone. Pro-growth tax policy must be coupled with meaningful restraints on entitlement spending. Our entitlement-driven unfunded liabilities exceed the net worth of every man, woman and child in our country.
If the president and Congress really want to put our country on a sustainable fiscal path, there is a way forward. The time to start down that long and difficult road is now. It is our only path to prosperity.
Chris Chocola, a former Republican House member from Indiana, is president of the Club for Growth.