20 Trillion Reasons to Reform Taxes and Mandatory Payment Programs

U.S. Senator Mike Rounds. (Official Senate Photo)

September 15, 2017
By U.S. Senator Mike Rounds

The federal government’s national debt recently surpassed $20 trillion. While there is plenty of blame to go around, the majority of this debt can be attributed to the past decade, as our debt was $10.6 trillion at the start of 2009. In other words, in the past eight years, the federal government has accrued as much debt as it accrued throughout the first 230 years of our country’s existence. It’s no wonder military leaders acknowledge it as being a top threat to our national security.  Even more frightening, there is no sign of it slowing down.

High debt threatens economic growth by driving up interest rates and discouraging businesses and individuals from investing back into the economy. And it breeds even more debt as the interest on our debt must be paid to those who hold it – leaving fewer resources for other priorities such as roads, research and education.

Our broken tax system also plays a role by limiting our ability to collect revenues. Our current tax rates create a disincentive for companies to do business here in the United States, which then leads to fewer high-paying jobs for American workers, and encourage businesses to keep their profits overseas. Lowering tax rates would incentivize companies to repatriate that money and invest it back into our economy. Earlier this year, I introduced a proposal in the Senate to lower the tax rate in each bracket. It is but one step we can take to overhaul the tax code that will provide direct, immediate relief to hardworking families, jolt our economy and increase federal revenues.

While I do believe tax cuts are an important step to controlling our debt, the biggest driver of our debt is the rapid, unchecked growth of mandatory payments on safety net programs including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. If we continue down our current path, in less than ten years 99 percent of all federal revenue will have to be spent on mandatory payments and interest on our sky-high debt. No amount of cuts to defense and other programs such as crop insurance, education, highways and bridges will have a meaningful effect on debt reduction without also controlling the cost of these mandatory payment programs.

Mandatory payments already account for nearly three-fourths of our total federal spending today. This is because Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security have never been properly managed and Congress does not currently appropriately oversee them. They run on auto-pilot. Given that they are our largest federal expenditures every year, it is time for Congress to take an active role in managing their funding levels on a regular basis. This does not necessarily mean making cuts – it simply means giving Congress the authority to review them to make them as efficient as possible and to make sure they are available for individuals who need them, both now and in the future.

Surpassing $20 trillion in debt should be a wake-up call to Washington, which for decades has failed to own up to their responsibility to balance its checkbook. I continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to shake up the budget process in Congress, and open up the entire budget to congressional review – including mandatory payments. It is the only way to slow down the fiscal train wreck. Simply delaying action and looking the other way is not an option.

Custer Area Citizens Protest Trump Mandated Congressional Dismantling of Affordable Care Act

January 15, 2017
By Herb Ryan

America – the country where everyone has the opportunity to lawfully assemble in public and voice their opinion on any subject. At 1:00 pm Sunday afternoon, January 15, 2017, thirty-four  protesters  assembled  in Way Park carrying signs asking for protection on Medicare the Affordable Care Act and Social Security .

The Senate voted 51 to 48 early Thursday, January 12, 2017 to approve a budget resolution instructing House and Senate committees to begin work on legislation to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act.

In a press release dated Thursday, January 12, 2017 South Dakota Senator John Thune said “Passing the Obamacare repeal resolution means the Republican-led Senate has begun delivering on the promises we made to the American people,” said Thune. “The current Obamacare situation is unsustainable. Premiums are soaring, insurance markets are collapsing, and patients’ choices are dwindling. With this resolution, we have put the necessary tools in place to repeal Obamacare and replace it with personalized, patient-centered health care that is affordable for every American.

Mary Boots, Custer County Democratic Chairman  said she was at the rally because “there are a group of citizens in the Custer area who are concerned about the future of the Affordable Care Act, the future Medicare and Social Security. We want to make sure The citizens of this country have good affordable healthcare”. Mary continued – We like the Affordable Care Act, but realize some changes need to be made and hope the it is not thrown on the scrap heap leaving some 20 million Americans without healthcare. Sue Martin who has worked in health care said ” I’m going to be needing health care and believe the government has no right to repeal healthcare. If they can improve Obamacare, I would be ok with that” Dennis Knuckles said, ” What we need is affordable health care, not a bunch of platitudes from politicians. Whether it’s a republican or democratic driven healthcare bill, it has to be affordable for everyone, if that’s possible, then I’m for it”.

Most people agreed that the Affordable Care Act has serious flaws that need to be corrected, keeping that thought in mind, affordable health care in this country has always been a challenge and will continue unless radicalized senators in congress can see beyond their personal grudges and party affiliation and do the work of the people. That is why they were elected, they work for us. Apparently, the work most of them do is to appease vested interest and work on getting re-elected. Stop being the silent majority.

Contact:
Senators of the 115th Congress
The 115th United States House Of Representatives
South Dakota Legislature

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Meg Schwartz far right holds a message to members of the House and Congress at the Save Healthcare Rally at Way Park in Custer, SD Sunday, January 15, 2017. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

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Custer resident Dennis Knuckles and San Diego resident Susan Fadness demonstrate at the Save Healthcare Rally at Way Park in Custer, SD Sunday, January 15, 2017. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press

 

Reminder – The Custer Rally To “Save Health Care” Will Be Held Tomorrow in Way Park

Editor’s note; The weather in Custer Sunday afternoon will be bright, low 40’s with 0% chance of rain.
This event is being held on public property, and all are invited to attend and express their opinions on the issues.
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CUSTER, SD – There is a call to action from the Democratic Party for local groups to rally on January 15th in support of programs and policies that are important to all Americans.  These include the continuation and strengthening of Social Security, Medicare, affordable health care, equal rights, and much more.  For example, the GOP-led Congress is already working toward dumping the Affordable Care Act without providing a replacement plan, and that would be disastrous for millions of people.

The purpose of the gathering in Way Park on Sunday is to show our legislators – both local and national – that people support  these valuable programs, and that they shouldn’t be gutted for the sake of gaining a few dollars today.  The participants will be representing the issues that are important to them, and all are welcome.  This will be a positive rally, not a protest. We want to be constructive in our message to the people who represent us.

Social Security should not be privatized, and that the taxable income level should be increased.  Funds should also be placed back in the “lockbox” so that Congress cannot use them as a slush fund.  Medicare should be kept, with greater scrutiny of the many instances of fraud and abuse in order to make the program more financially stable.  The Affordable Care Act should be tweaked to place less of a burden on the providers, and should certainly not leave the millions of people who rely on it without coverage.

The Custer Rally will be held at:
Way Park
Corner of Mt. Rushmore Rd, and 4th Street
Custer, SD
Sunday, January 15th at 1:00 pm
Other National Rallies

 

Custer Rally to Protest GOP-Led Congressional Actions on Affordable Care Act – Social Security – Medicare

January 10, 2016
By Meg Schwartz

CUSTER, SD – There is a call to action from the Democratic Party for local groups to rally on January 15th in support of programs and policies that are important to all Americans.  These include the continuation and strengthening of Social Security, Medicare, affordable health care, equal rights, and much more.  For example, the GOP-led Congress is already working toward dumping the Affordable Care Act without providing a replacement plan, and that would be disastrous for millions of people.

The purpose of the gathering in Way Park on Sunday is to show our legislators – both local and national – that people support  these valuable programs, and that they shouldn’t be gutted for the sake of gaining a few dollars today.  The participants will be representing the issues that are important to them, and all are welcome.  This will be a positive rally, not a protest. We want to be constructive in our message to the people who represent us.

Social Security should not be privatized, and that the taxable income level should be increased.  Funds should also be placed back in the “lockbox” so that Congress cannot use them as a slush fund.  Medicare should be kept, with greater scrutiny of the many instances of fraud and abuse in order to make the program more financially stable.  The Affordable Care Act should be tweaked to place less of a burden on the providers, and should certainly not leave the millions of people who rely on it without coverage.

The Custer Rally will be held at:
Way Park
Corner of Mt. Rushmore Rd, and 4th Street
Custer, SD
Sunday, January 15th at 1:00 pm
Other National Rallies