As parents and grandparents, many of whom are part of the Baby Boomer generation (including myself), we always think about what is best for our children and grandchildren.
We encourage them to make smart decisions. We want them to excel and succeed. The very fundamental ideal of the American Dream is to build a better future for the next generation.
The same must be true in government as it is in our personal lives. In every policy decision, we must consider both its short-term and long-term effects.
In no other place is this more apparent than in our fiscal legacy. The policy decisions made in Washington have caused our national debt to hit its highest level in history. Our federal deficit is rising rapidly and it is our children who will pay the price.
We’re supposed to be building a stronger future for our children and grandchildren. Instead, we’re saddling them with more debt and less opportunity.
We’ve already seen the negative effects of this misguided policy. Job losses across the nation are hurting our families, communities and businesses. We have not seen the economic recovery that we were promised would result from this increased government spending. Yet, we are not seeing a shift in policy coming from Washington.
Earlier this month, President Obama laid out his budget for the coming year, which is supposed to be a roadmap for the nation’s fiscal future. However, instead of putting America on a fiscally sound path, the proposal drives skyrocketing federal spending to new heights, raises taxes by more than $2 trillion and increases the debt we are leaving to our children and grandchildren by trillions of dollars.
The ramifications of continuing down this dangerous path are dire, not only for our generation of 78 million Boomers, but also for the next.
Increasing national debt and a sky-high federal deficit fundamentally weigh down the economy in the long term. And, in the short term, it slows down our nation’s ability to recover from the recent economic downturn. Not to mention the fact that it is inhibiting job creation.
If Washington is serious about economic recovery in the short term and economic growth in the long term, it must focus on growing the economy and cutting spending. These are the two primary ways to reduce our deficit and control our debt.
Growing the economy requires investing in our nation’s true economic engines: small businesses, family-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. They employ more than 50 percent of Americans and create two-thirds of our nation’s new jobs. They will be the ones to lead us through these difficult times. We must champion policies that will help them grow and succeed. Our focus should be to get credit flowing again, ease their tax burden and reduce the weight of onerous regulations that stifle their growth.
Cutting spending requires prioritizing the programs that are most effective—not the ones that are most expensive or politically popular. It also means taking a good look at how government does business and taking swift action to eliminate waste and fraud. And it certainly takes a whole lot more than just slowing the growth of a mere 13 percent of our federal budget.
When a family has a teenager with a spending problem, wise parents take away his credit card. Doing so nips the problem in the bud and it instills in him the importance of fiscal responsibility.
Likewise, Washington must make the hard decision to end its spending spree and take the time to build our economy. Only then will we be successful in building a stronger financial future in which our children and grandchildren can thrive and succeed.
Carly Fiorina is the former Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett Packard. She led the company from 1999-2005. In 2006, she released her autobiography "Tough Choices" and in 2009 announced she would seek the Republican nomination to challenge Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California.
Watch "Tom Brokaw Reports: Boomer$!", Thursday, March 4 at 9pm ET on CNBC. The program will also air Saturday, March 6 at 7pm ET; Sunday, March 7th at 9pm ET; and Monday, March 8th at 8pm ET.