Senator Richard Burr: Fiscal Cliff

As regular readers of this newsletter know, the fiscal cliff has been the primary item on the agenda in Washington lately.  I wish I had some encouraging news or updates to give you this week, but unfortunately, we still do not have a deal to avoid sending our economy off the cliff.  While finding some sort of compromise is important, the issue is broader than simply avoiding the cliff.  We are in this position today because our economy is in a very dangerous place.  We are spending more than we are bringing in every year, our national debt is over $16 trillion and climbing, and Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are in jeopardy of going bankrupt if we don’t do something quickly to keep them viable for the next generation of Americans.  Reaching a deal is about more than just avoiding the fiscal cliff, it is about addressing the serious issues that face our country and putting our economy back on track to prosperity. 
The plans put forth by the President so far have focused primarily on increasing revenue by raising taxes.  While this might sound good in talking points, the reality is that the amount of new revenue generated by raising taxes would be a mere drop in the bucket when it comes to our overall fiscal crisis.  We have the opportunity to do real, permanent good here, and if we waste that opportunity we are only putting our country further into debt and jeopardizing the future of our economy. 
We owe it to the American people to address the fundamental issues affecting our economy.  We must reform our tax code to make it less burdensome and ensure that all Americans pay their fair share.  We need to cut federal spending to levels that are within our means rather than continue the current deficit spending that increases our national debt each second.  And, we must make changes to our entitlement programs to keep them from going bankrupt and ensure that they remain viable for future generations of Americans. 
I am willing to work with the President to achieve a path forward that will address these issues and put our economy back on the right track.  However, working together means that both sides must be willing to come to the table in order to make a deal.  If increasing revenue is the President’s main priority, then we should be considering that in the context of tax reform.