By Sen. Rand Paul
December 18, 2015
IDEAS
Paul is the junior U.S. Senator for Kentucky.

Today, Americans are worried about their future, and the future of their country. They are afraid that a mountain of debt will weigh down their children’s opportunities. They are worried that the American dream—that each succeeding generation would be better off—is increasingly out of reach as the country is weighed down by the burden of government debt that grows larger every single day.

Unfortunately, the disastrous omnibus spending bill that Speaker Paul Ryan negotiated pushes the American dream further away from too many families. Following an all-too-familiar script–despite Republicans holding the majority in both houses of Congress–GOP leadership betrayed our principles through this terrible bill, acquiescing to the Obama administration’s determination to swell to our $18 trillion dollar debt.

This irresponsible bill is another reminder of the Right and Left’s unholy alliance of spending more of our money at every turn. Conservatives in the House and Senate must fight this big government bill if we are to build a better future where our children can thrive, not just pay off our profligate spending.

In the last decade we’ve added nearly $10 trillion in new debt, but what have we gotten? This economic madness has resulted in “The Great Stagnation”—stagnation of wages, labor force participation, and job growth. This year has seen the smallest uptick in wages since we first started tracking it in 1982. At the current pace, there will be more layoffs this year than any other year since the Great Recession. Labor force participation hasn’t been this low since Jimmy Carter was President.

Speaker Ryan’s spending bill will only increase the misery of ordinary Americans struggling to provide for their families. The size of government is inversely proportional to individual liberty. As government grows, liberty is diminished. The government has no power that doesn’t come at the expense of personal liberty. The government has no money on its own—just what it confiscates from its citizens.

And during the Obama years, government spending has grown at a record pace. Today, total government debt, including inter-government debt, now equals our GDP. It’s never been higher, except during World War II.

This huge increase in government spending has not significantly altered the poverty rate. Today, nearly 15 percent of our population lives in poverty. This increase in spending hasn’t increased the wealth of the middle class—full-time workers are still making less than they did in 2007. Only one in five dollars meant for welfare recipients goes to the recipients—the other four dollars feed the Washington Machine or goes to the same powerful and politically connected banks, federal contractors, and big businesses.

This corruption is why conservatives must fight this terrible bill. Speaker Ryan’s bill will further increase our $18 trillion debt by keeping us on course to borrow a million dollars a minute, ignoring our budget caps and adding $60 billion in new spending. It’s absurd that conservatives would agree to any new spending. Currently, some $3 trillion comes in to the US Treasury in taxes. Couldn’t the country survive on just $3 trillion dollars?

I propose we do something truly extraordinary — let’s just spend what comes in. That’s why I’ve proposed a balanced budget that eliminates $1 trillion in spending. It does away with four cabinet departments and reduces the federal workforce by 15 percent. Throughout my time in the Senate, I have also fought to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution to keep future spending under control.

Raising spending by $60 billion is one thing, but raising it to fund Democratic entitlements, welfare, and pork is another. It’s shocking that the GOP played any role in the negotiations process.

This 2,242-page bill will fully fund Obama administration priorities such as Obamacare and President Obama’s 2012 executive amnesty program, providing tax credits and other federal benefits to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants. It will continue to fund sanctuary cities while also granting $1.6 billion for the President’s refugee program — bringing an additional 85,000 refugees from high-risk areas into this country, all while failing to improve the vetting process and true reform of the visa program. Half a billion dollars will still be funneled through to Planned Parenthood, and appropriations include green energy subsidies for wind, solar, and alternative fuels. It even expands the surveillance state through incentives for companies to turn over customer information to the NSA and FBI.

Washington cannot continue to promise everything to everyone without a plan to pay for it. I urge all conservatives in Congress to fight this terrible spending bill–because to not do so is to bankrupt our children’s futures.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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