Op/Ed: Working to unwind Maine’s Debt Clock



By Maine State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin

This is the fourth year in a row that Washington career politicians have spent more than $1 trillion than they collected from us in federal taxes and fees. They recklessly make up the difference by either borrowing the money or printing it.

As the advancing federal Debt Clock shows, our country now suffers under a $16 trillion mountain of public debt. (Click here to watch our federal government’s frightening Debt Clock march on.)

Every American man, woman and child owes more than $50,000—and growing—primarily to those investors who loaned Washington the $16 trillion.

This is real money. It must be repaid.

Washington’s fiscal imprudence is perpetuated by career politicians more concerned about getting re-elected than doing the right thing. Our $16 trillion national debt is suffocating the federal budget and economy with $225 billion per year of interest payments with rates at historic lows. When interest rates begin to rise, those mortgage payments will soar, further choking the economy and hurting job creation for our families.

Our $16 trillion behemoth national debt hurts every American. Entrepreneurs hesitate to start a new or expand their existing businesses because they fear higher taxes to pay off the surging debt. That means fewer jobs, less prosperity and less freedom for our citizens.

The national unemployment rate has been stuck above 8% for several years; 23 million fellow Americans can’t find jobs or are underemployed. Millions more have simply given up looking for jobs.

Now, click here to watch Maine state government’s Debt Clock unwind!

The LePage Administration and legislative majority understand that Maine state government is too big, too expensive and too complicated. We also recognize that excessive government spending and public debt lead to high taxes, which in turn hurt our families by chasing away private-sector jobs.

Then toss in spiking gasoline and heating oil bills, plus unaffordable health insurance premiums. It’s no wonder why Maine’s business climate had been ranked dead last, 50th, when our leadership team arrived in Augusta last year.

The new state government leaders have been working non-stop to help Maine families by creating incentives for business investment and more jobs. We eliminated $1.7 billion of public pension debt—a 41% reduction. This is allowing approximately $200 million less in government spending per year until the remaining pension debt is paid off by 2028.

The largest tax cut in Maine history followed—$150 million—putting more hard-earned money back in the pockets of our struggling families and businesses.

For nine months, we’ve been encouraging the private-sector development of natural gas pipelines in Maine. It’s a big, slow project, but Maine is finally much closer to driving down energy costs for our families and the businesses that employ them.

The legislative majority passed new health insurance laws that introduce competition to lower health insurance costs for consumers. Already, we’re seeing new types of policies with skinnier premiums. Soon, Mainers will be able to purchase health insurance across state lines to further reduce monthly premiums.

Dozens of new laws have been passed that eliminate or simplify business regulations while protecting our environment. It’s becoming easier and less expensive to start and run a company in Maine. National research publications are acknowledging this steady improvement.

For 35 years, Maine public officials led our families and businesses down a path of unsustainable, big, expensive government. Looking back, we can now see how this has resulted in unhealthy and unaffordable government dependency for our families, and fleeing businesses that no longer employ our hard-working citizens.

Two years ago that path started to change. Maine state government is now spending less, taxing less, borrowing less and regulating less. Our new strategy is designed to help Maine families live more prosperous and independent lives with more opportunities and freedom. We will achieve this by growing the private sector economy and benefiting from the jobs it creates.

Enjoy proudly watching Maine’s Debt Clock unwind!  Let’s keep it going. Washington should take notice and follow suit.

Treasurer Bruce Poliquin will speak at an educational debt rally at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, September 17 at the State House, 210 State Street in Augusta. The rally is part of “Obama’s Failing Agenda” bus tour, a nationwide project of Americans for Prosperity, a non-profit, grassroots movement of over 2 million activists who advocate and promote limited government, lower taxes and more freedom. For more information about the event or Maine’s chapter of AFP, click here.




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