The budget deficit is a serious problem that didn’t get created overnight and won’t get solved overnight either.   But let’s be clear – we can’t trust the politicians who created the fiscal messes in Washington and in Springfield to solve it.  That’s one reason I support a 10 percent pay cut for Congress and no pay raises until they balance the budget.

I believe we need more everyday people in public service – people who have a practical, common sense approach.  Like a lot of families, I learned a long time ago that balancing the family budget and living within your means is a question of priorities.  Doing what the Republicans in Congress are trying to do -- balancing the federal budget on the backs of our seniors, while cutting taxes for big corporations and the wealthy -- has the priorities all wrong.

We can start by implementing the recommendations of a nonpartisan Government Accountability Office report issued earlier that found widespread waste and inefficiency in federal programs.  For example, the federal government has 47 job training programs, 44 of which overlap.  Simply consolidating programs that overlap can save tens of billions of dollars while not impacting program quality.

We should insist that Washington get more efficient and smarter, while making sure we protect the middle class and working families from higher taxes:

  • Root out waste and fraud in government contracts and in important programs like Medicare.
  • Lower health care costs, which are a big driver of our fiscal problems.  We should start by letting Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices.
  • End tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.
  • End Bush tax breaks for millionaires, while ensuring tax relief for the middle class.
  • End corporate handouts like special tax breaks for oil companies.
  • Cut Congressional pay 10 percent until they balance the budget and take a hard look at Congressional pensions and other perks.