Pressing Presidential Candidates on our Federal Debt

Iowa’s role as the first-in-the-nation caucus means that Iowans have the distinct opportunity to make their voices heard with the person who will be our next president. We are able to meet each and every candidate while they campaign in the state, and hence able to press them on issues that we care about.

There are a number of issues that Iowans hold important, but a recent poll from the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics found that 94 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers and 74 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers said they want to hear candidates speaking about the nation’s federal debt.

Because Iowa votes first in the nation and sets the tone for the upcoming primary season, it is important that Iowa thoroughly vets the candidates on issues of importance — including our fiscal irresponsibility.

The current president has made it clear that he has no plans to address the budget and will continue his thriftless spending. While it would be too difficult to make President Obama create a new budget this late in his second term, it is not out of reach to require the next president to have a strategic approach to fixing the debt. Republican or democrat, the next president must modify our spending tactics and prepare to address our nation’s debt crisis.

When our next president takes office in 2017, projections show that federal debt held by the public will rise from more than $14 trillion to more than $21 trillion. As a result of increased debt, we will likely see higher interest rates on items like car loans, student loans, credit card debt, and mortgages. Unfortunately, if America stays on this current trajectory, more of the federal budget will be spent financing past spending rather than investments in our future.

We do not have time to wait. The federal budget is arguably the most pressing issue that faces our domestic politics in the 2016 cycle and therefore Iowa must set the bar high in choosing a candidate that plans to make addressing the federal debt a real priority. I will be asking candidates to make addressing our nation’s burgeoning debt a priority. I hope you will join me.