This Fourth of July is a Time to Reflect on What’s Important

This Fourth of July is a Time to Reflect on What’s Important

By Senator Mike Rounds

June 30, 2016

Jean and I are blessed to have all eight of our grandkids nearby. They all live within a few minutes of our home in Ft. Pierre and we are fortunate to spend time with them most weekends. Among many other blessings they bring, they are also a constant reminder that the policy decisions being made today determine the kind of future we will leave for them.

With election season underway and near-constant media coverage of presidential politics, it can often be frustrating when the focus seems to be on hair or pantsuits, rather than the policy issues that will lead to a more prosperous future. Even my young grandchildren are put off by the tone, and thankfully they prefer riding around on the lawnmower or “four wheeling” on the golf cart with me. The reality is, we are facing serious issues and the important discussions need to be prioritized. We ought to be talking about the problems we face, and more importantly, the solutions that need to be pursued.

Independence Day is a good time to reflect on these issues. On July 4, 2026, just 10 years away, America turns 250 years old. As Americans, we will celebrate a historic time in the greatest country in the world. At the same time, our 250th birthday brings to bear a dangerous situation that we can forecast today. In 2026, it is projected that 99 percent of our taxpayer dollars will be spent on two categories: entitlement spending and interest on the national debt. That begs the important question: where will we get the money to spend on other critical items like national defense, roads and bridges, education or medical research? The crisis is not ten years down the road – it is right now. If we begin focusing on these problems today, we can address these challenges together. If we kick the can down the road, 2026 will be historic, but not in a good way.

Some in Congress are consistent in promoting higher taxes and more “free stuff.” Those plans inflate an already bloated federal bureaucracy, add to the federal debt and stifle job growth. Conversely, others in Congress simply support lowering taxes. Economically speaking, the solution is more complex.

We need tax reform that will provide an environment where businesses want to invest in America, rather than create jobs overseas and keep profits overseas. We need to limit the federal rule-making process that unfairly punishes job creators and restricts capital. Congress must regain its role as the lawmaking body– not D.C. bureaucrats. We need the courage to address entitlement reform so that we can save important programs like Social Security. We need to recognize that the best decisions are made at the local level of government, not in Washington, D.C. Lastly, we need to reduce the size of the federal government, and streamline it through strategic reductions.

Small victories are important and we’re seeing some success in the U.S. Senate. We’re moving more legislation through the committees than we have in the past eight years. We’re making progress, but we have a long way to go. In the meantime, we all need to keep our focus on the problems facing America so we can work together to find solutions. We’ll have a new president next year, and the leadership philosophy he or she brings will greatly impact what America looks like on our 250th birthday. I think all of us can agree on one thing: we want to leave this country better for our kids and grandkids. 

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