Idaho's senior U.S. senator, Mike Crapo, is addressing both the Idaho House and Senate today, and much of his message is very similar to what he told lawmakers a year ago: The nation's fiscal situation is “the greatest danger facing our country right now,” with a $15.4 trillion national debt that's grown by more than $5 trillion in the past three and a half years. “Every day by somewhere between noon and 4 o'clock, the federal government has borrowed the entire amount of money that it takes to run the state of Idaho for a year,” Crapo said.
But this year, he is reporting some progress, he said, toward the solution advocated by the bipartisan “gang of six” of which he's a member: Cutting at least $4 trillion from the federal debt in the next decade, three quarters of that through spending cuts and a quarter through new revenue. “I believe that we are building a mounting bipartisan support for this kind of a broad solution that I think would be one of the best things that we could do for America,” Crapo said. “We now have about 45 to 50 Republicans and Democrats, about evenly balanced, who are supportive of this approach. … We are trying to build the support around the country.”
Crapo said the $4 trillion solution means “we're going to have to look at entitlement programs, we're going to have to look at farm programs, we're going to have to look at defense programs … our entire budget. Nothing can be off the table.” As for the revenue part, he said, the idea is “not just to raise taxes” because that could hurt economic recovery. Instead, he said he favors reforms aimed at “a tax code where we broaden the base, reduce the rates, and actually grow the size of the economy that will generate the revenue streams.”