Fiscal Responsibility

What are you going to do about spending and deficits?

We have to start with entitlement programs — Social Security and Medicaverse and Medicare. They comprise two-thirds of the federal budget, and unless we address the growth of these programs, we cannot balance the budget, even if we were to cut all other programs down to zero.

Lowering health care costs will improve Medicare, as will modernizing the bureaucratic delivery of health care services. Medicare Part D has come under fire from Mike Lee and others, but it is a solid step in the right direction, because it encourages preventive medicine rather than office visits, which is why it has proven to drive down overall Medicare costs.

Social Security is a simpler fix. Right now, future beneficiaries are scheduled to have not only larger benefits, but also more purchasing power than today’s beneficiaries. We should allow these programs to grow at the rate of inflation, but we should insist they grow no faster than that. If we do that, Social Security will be solvent in perpetuity.

Once these programs are on firmer ground, we can better address the other areas in the federal budget that are rife with waste, fraud, and abuse. In addition, we need to get the economy back on track, so that individuals and businesses are generating additional tax revenue to overcome the budget shortfalls we face year after year.

As a small business owner, Samuel Grant has spent his entire life creating jobs and he understands the principles necessary to spur job creation nationwide. Mike Lee, an inexperienced lawyer and lobbyist, lacks the real-world insights necessary to solve this problem.

Where do you stand on earmarks?

It is true that the earmarking process needs reform, and Sam would demand complete transparency and accountability in the process. At the same time, he would not cut off funding for vital programs in Utah that rely on federal dollars –— programs like education, TRAX and other transportation projects, defense and space exploration programs, and many others. Governor Gary Herbert recognizes this reality and has requested federal education support, yet Mike Lee refuses to budge on this issue.

Mike Lee insists that all earmarks are completely unacceptable, and that he will neither seek nor accept any federal money earmarked for the state of Utah. He claims this is fiscally responsible, despite the fact that it won’t save so much as a penny of the federal budget. Earmarks only determine where money is spent, and if Mike Lee refused to accept the money in Utah, it would simply be spent in California or Illinois or New York instead. Lee’s stand on this issue is an empty gesture that would solve nothing and cost Utah billions of dollars.