McRae: Put Our Fiscal House in Order

It likely goes without saying, but our nation’s fiscal house is a mess. Over the last few weeks, we have lurched from one financial crisis to the next. A budget needed to be written, the government had to be funded or agencies would begin to shut down, and a decision had to be made as to whether America would be allowed to pay our outstanding debts or face default. The numbers being thrown around are eye-crossing – $3.5 trillion in spending, $28 trillion of debt, a $6 trillion budget. Needless to say, it left many Mississippians, including myself, craving a real conversation about restoring fiscal discipline in America.

Today, the national debt sits at around $28 trillion. That breaks down to about $84,848 worth of debt for every man, woman, and child in the United States. What’s perhaps most alarming is that our debt has nearly tripled in the last 10 years alone.

This amount of debt can have dire consequences. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget outlines four in particular. First, and most obviously, the national debt will lower national savings and income. Second, it will result in “higher interest payments, leading to large tax hikes and spending cuts.” Third, and perhaps most concerning, the growing debt will decrease America’s ability to respond to crises. And finally, it will increase our risk of fiscal collapse.

Alarmingly, the White House shows no signs of slowing down the debt crisis. The Biden Administration’s recent spending package, for instance, included more than $3 trillion worth of spending. Much of this money would be used to create new entitlement programs, almost guaranteeing Americans would be thrown into a never-ending cycle of debt.

Families don’t run their finances like this, and neither do states. Here in Mississippi, we are required to balance our budget every year. Like many families do, Mississippi not only balanced our budget, but we built a rainy day fund so we’d be protected from the ebbs and flows of the economic tide.

The responsibly managed rainy day fund has protected our state’s credit rating, given Mississippi access to more advantageous financing, and helped Governor Tate Reeves and I strike a refinancing deal to save taxpayers $36 million.

Mississippi has fought hard to keep our fiscal house in order. It’s time that Congress do the same.