On July 25, the BDN’s editorial board distorted a number of my positions to end wasteful government spending, eliminate debt and reform welfare. I believe we must put our nation’s fiscal house in order if we are to achieve lasting economic growth and more jobs for our 2nd Congressional District families.
This year is the fifth year of America’s painfully slow economic recovery. For many, wages haven’t increased, but taxes and the costs of gasoline, heating oil and food continue to rise.
Our job-creating businesses lack confidence in the future. Burdensome regulations, high energy costs, rising taxes and growing uncertainty from the new federal health care law make it increasingly difficult for businesses to succeed. And job creators watch too many Washington politicians push for more spending without a plan to pay off the nation’s $17 trillion debt. So they hesitate to expand their operations and hire more workers, and our families suffer.
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has spoken out about some of our country’s most intractable fiscal problems. Our own senator, Susan Collins, like me, opposed the government takeover of health care because it limits choices, increases taxes and hurts job growth. I will work with anyone — Democrat, Republican or independent — willing to address what is preventing new jobs from being created. However, I do not endorse any one congressional plan from the past. I will work tirelessly to help chart a new course for the future.
With my 35 years of real world experience growing the economy and creating jobs, I know how to tackle difficult issues instead of kicking the can down the street. As Maine state treasurer, I worked with Democrats, Republicans and independents to solve some of Maine’s most serious fiscal problems that were smothering our state economy and killing jobs.
I helped lead the initiative to secure the retirement benefits for teachers and state employees while eliminating $1.7 billion of pension debt. Those reforms dramatically lowered government spending and led to the largest income tax reduction in Maine history — removing state income taxes for the working poor and providing tax incentives for job growth.
Maine’s economy is growing again, with more than 18,000 new private sector jobs having been created since starting those efforts.
Like Maine’s unfunded pension system, Social Security owes 56 million senior citizens $23 trillion more in retirement benefits than there is money to pay for them. A similar problem exists for the $43 trillion unfunded Medicare program. It’s crucial to protect and preserve these retirement and health care benefits for our seniors while saving the programs for future generations.
The BDN editorial stated that reforming our welfare programs through the proposals identified in Ryan’s budget proposal would “wreak havoc with the Maine state budget.” To the contrary, during the past dozen years, the intentional expansion of welfare in Maine to include nonsenior, nondisabled, childless adults swamped our state budget, raised taxes and piled up nearly $500 million of hospital debt while killing jobs.
That’s my opponent’s big government solution to our problems. We’ve already experienced how her policies have killed jobs in Maine.
Since 1964, Washington has spent $15 trillion on welfare, but the poverty rate has barely budged. We need to be compassionate for those who cannot care for themselves and for those who need a helping hand. However, we cannot continue expanding government just for the sake of it. The enormous cost kills jobs. We can do better.
As the son of working-class parents growing up in central Maine, I have experienced how hard work and perseverance have built our great state. I painted metal roofs and worked the night shift at a spinning mill to help put myself through college.
I’m certain that we can solve our nation’s serious problems if we elect people who will face our challenges head-on and work together without political posturing. This will lead to brighter futures for all Mainers.
Our hardworking 2nd District families and small businesses understand that the status quo in Washington no longer works. We need new people with real world experience to solve our problems. I look forward to serving as Maine’s next congressman from the 2nd District and getting the job done.
Bruce Poliquin is the Republican candidate for the U.S. House from Maine’s 2nd District. He is a former state treasurer.