House Republicans Must Deliver a Balanced Budget

The American people want a balanced budget and our government under control.

by Newt Gingrich

The American people want a balanced budget and our government under control.

Our work at America’s New Majority Project confirms this.

By 70 percent to 13 percent, Americans favor a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget. This includes 67 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Republicans, and 70 percent of Independents.

Americans are convinced balancing the budget and cutting spending will help reduce inflation. In fact, by 67 percent to 19 percent, Americans favor reducing spending to reduce inflation. This is supported by key demographic voter groups (74 percent of Hispanics and 55 percent of Blacks are for it). It also crosses political lines. Fifty-two percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Independents, and 81 percent of Republicans are for cutting spending to curb inflation.

Most Americans believe simply eliminating waste and corruption in government would be enough to balance the budget. This includes Democrats, who traditionally support large, centralized government. In one Gallup study, people estimated that 50 percent of government spending is waste.

On the fight between the House and Senate over whether spending could be cut below the debt ceiling agreement, the American people were overwhelmingly with House Republicans. More than half of all Americans (57 percent) favored even deeper spending cuts while less than one quarter (22 percent) opposed additional cuts.

Of the 57 percent who said cutting government spending would benefit the economy, 22 percent said it would be “very good.” Only 7 percent thought it would be “very bad” for the economy to cut government spending.

In fact, the American people favor spending cuts so much they, would support a limited, temporary shutdown of the federal government to get it done. There is a similar 57 percent to 22 percent margin in favor of cutting spending even if it takes a shutdown.

This depth of support from the American people even manifests itself in partisan questions. A full 51 percent of voters prefer a GOP candidate who wants a budget bill that cuts spending and is willing to allow non-critical parts of the government to shut down to pressure the President to sign it. Only 34 percent favor a Democratic candidate who wants a budget bill that continues to raise spending and opposes allowing non-critical parts of the government to shut down.

This gap in responses represents a 4point gain from the generic ballot for the Republican and a 7point drop from the generic for the Democrat. The generic ballot is a simple survey which asks people for their party preference for Congress. Interestingly the largest gain in the GOP vote comes from Independents (plus 13 percent) and Asians (plus 12 percent).

The current massive deficits and the enormous national debt hurt Americans and America in a number of ways. Just paying interest on the debt this year will exceed $1 trillion.

That’s right, we will spend more paying interest to bond holders than we will spend on the entire Department of Defense. Bigger government deficits mop up capital that should go to creating jobs and increasing productivity. Bureaucrats guiding the economy is a disaster compared to the effectiveness of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Overregulating small business kills job creation.

If a business or a family had a debt burden on scale with the U.S., it would be considered a crisis that had to be solved. It is a crisis for America, and it must be solved.

The best strategy for saving Medicare and Social Security is to return to a high growth economy that is creating jobs and strengthening government revenues through growth rather than taxation.

I know this can be done. As I wrote in my latest book “March to the Majority,” as Speaker of the House in the 1990s, I led the effort which created the only four consecutive balanced budgets in your lifetime.

The time has come for House Republicans to join the American people in fighting for a balanced budget. We learned a great deal when I was Speaker – and House Republicans (and rational Democrats) should use what we learned to do it again.

It’s what the American people want.

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