The US economy rebounded dramatically after 9/11, reflecting the resilience of the American worker. Yet Americans today are worried about their economic future, with good reason.
At the height of Jim's campaign for Congress is a call to responsibility, for America's leaders to work for the well-being of tomorrow's generation instead of their own political ambitions. Outside observers and nonpartisan organizations almost universally agree that Congress has, since 2001, been irresponsible in its management of fiscal affairs. The US now bears an all-time, breathtaking debt of over $9.4 trillion. Moreover, a quarter of the debt is owned by foreign governments. Congress's failure to pass an effective energy program means the US is more reliant than ever of foreign sources of energy -- governments like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Congressional raiding of the Social Security trust fund and its failure to fix entitlements means tomorrow's retirees face economic uncertainty. And Congress's failure to address health care reform means ever-rising health care costs.
Jim Burkee launched his campaign in 2007 with a promise: "I will never vote for a program that adds to our national debt during times of economic growth." Republicans acted irresponsibly in abandoning pay-as-you-go guidelines in Congress, spending more than we have. Democrats and Republicans both acted just as irresponsibly in December 2007 by temporarily patching the Alternative Minimum Tax, but abandoning pay-as-you-go within a year of making the promise! The additional cost to our national debt? $50 billion.
Jim shares the economic concerns of Fifth District voters. He grew up in West Allis, where his working-class family lived for four generations. His father, who dropped out of high school to serve in Vietnam, was able to work his way into management after years of hard work in manufacturing. Those were different times, before the Milwaukee metro area's manufacturing base declined.
Young families today face different challenges. Huge college costs and massive student loans. Rising health care costs. Soaring energy costs.
We can't expect Congress to address our concerns when so many wealthy members of Congress – a virtual multimillionaire's club – don't understand our concerns.
Keep taxes low, balance our books, give us an energy policy and do something about health care. Jim's plan for Washington. Now that's change.