Effecting change in Washington: Big spenders need not apply

Carly Fiorina Chairman, Unlocking Potential Project
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There are two big issues at the top of nearly every American’s mind: the economy and out-of-control government spending in Washington. We are asking ourselves when and how the economy will get back on track. And we wonder when, if ever, will the politicians in Washington wake up and realize that the American people expect them to be good stewards of our money, not spend more of it.

In looking for the right solutions to these challenges, my state—California—is a good example of what not to do. A tax, spend and borrow mentality reigns on both sides of the aisle in the Golden State. As a result of this cycle of dependency involving big spending and massive government growth, the state is now teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Californians are losing their jobs and our unemployment rate is in excess of 12 percent.

To avoid this kind of complete meltdown at the federal level, Washington needs a fresh perspective. We need people who will stop talking and act. We need Congress to do what we have hired them to do: make the tough choices and put an end to maxing out the national credit card. Its a better solution than what we have now—a Congress all too willing to raise the federal debt limit and allow the cycle of taxing, spending and borrowing to repeat itself.

It’s time for our government to start living within its means, just as families and businesses across this country are forced to do every day. It’s time to fix the problem, rather than hand out money to special interests so the politicians can win re-election or fatten their campaign bank accounts. It’s time for Congress to do its job and that might mean adding a new word to their political vocabulary: no.

Unfortunately there is an effort in Washington now to punt this problem to yet another commission to “study” the nation’s deficit. We don’t need a commission to study the federal deficit, what we need is a commitment to cut federal spending. We know why we have a deficit: Congress spends too much money. It’s Congress’ job to address the deficit and if they can’t, or won’t, then the people need to replace them with leaders who will.

What’s even more astonishing about the deficit reduction commission proposal is that it contemplates the option of raising revenue (read: raising taxes) as a potential solution to our deficit. Giving the government more money won’t lower the deficit, in fact, it will only make it worse. We need to cut spending, aggressively go after the waste and abuse in the federal budget, and we need leaders who are not afraid to take the steps to do it.

We know there exists hundreds of billions of dollars in well-documented fraud, waste and abuse in the federal budget. This is money American taxpayers shouldn’t have to spend. It is frustrating that too many people in Congress, like my opponent Barbara Boxer, have been there so long that they lack the real world experience or commitment needed to root out further unnecessary and wasteful spending.

Those of us who have run businesses, rather than make a career out of running for public office, know that in a huge unaccountable bureaucracy there is plenty of opportunity to cut spending and actually improve performance. We need people representing us who can spot that kind of thing without needing a protest or major media exposé to bring it to their attention. We need people representing us who are willing to consistently scrutinize every piece of major legislation and every agency budget and tell us when the taxpayers are getting a raw deal.

It’s time to affect real change in Washington by holding government accountable. We have this opportunity in November. I believe this will be the year in which we start turning things around, for real and for everyone, by electing people to serve in Congress who are not afraid to make the tough calls, to say no to the special interests and to lead responsibly rather than shift responsibility to another commission.

Carly Fiorina is a former Fortune 500 CEO. She is running for U.S. Senate in California. For more information about Carly and her campaign visit http://www.carlyforca.com .