If we are serious about attacking the dangerous deficit . . . we must ask each American to be willing to make a sacrifice if that is necessary. We must put an end to the growth of our national debt, which has taken on a life of its own as larger and larger interest bills add to the total.
The Republican leadership budget package addresses a part of the solution to this problem: it proposes further cuts in government spending. But it is silent on the problem of inadequate government revenue. The silence results from the fact that all revenue questions have been declared off-limits.
There are a number of items in the package with which I disagree. I am willing to submit each to the judgment of the Senate. I do not seek any change in the package that would add a penny to the budget outlays or the deficit. What I do seek in order to support the package with a good conscience is the removal of the fence around revenue. Congress cannot solve this problem or even keep the danger at bay without the ability to exercise all the options. We can no longer be sophomoric.
The course I advocate is nearly pain- free and would be effective: the repeal of indexing of taxation. It would decrease the deficit by $48 billion in three years. It would allow us a little flexiblity in dealing with the hardest cases. But there are other revenue options we can consider.
All the budget cuts of recent years have been swallowed up by the rising cost of interest and debt service. It is high time that we get serious before our situation gets more serious.
Failure to consider revenue raising measures also raises the "fairness issue." Is it fair to attempt to reduce the deficit entirely by cutting programs that are primarily for the benefit of the poor, the weak and the young? Should some sacrifice not also be sought from the affluent?
While there is much spending we can reduce, there is also substantial revenue we can raise. The lasting solution -- and the fair solution -- to our budget problems is to draw on both sides of the ledger. Such a solution would have my wholehearted support.