WASHINGTON, July 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), a senior member of House and author of the Debt Free America Act, H.R. 1125, major legislation to raise dedicated revenue, pay down the national debt and make spending cuts, issues the following statement on the long term economic context of the debt ceiling negotiations:
"As debt ceiling discussions approach a critical juncture, we have reached an American moment at which it is vitally important to talk about common ground -- and higher ground.
"We are a nation where 130 million Americans go to work each day. Hundreds of thousands of businesses large and small continue to produce, to invest, to innovate. We are the world's greatest economy, the world's wealthiest nation, the most powerful military, the most advanced infrastructure, the technological and cultural trendsetter.
"Yes, we must solve the crisis of the moment in a manner that assures we will remain so. And then we must lay the groundwork to grow even stronger.
"The common ground for President Obama, Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader Pelosi and the Senate's leaders Reid and McConnell is considerable. There is agreement, at least in principle, to cut government spending and raise revenues in some form. There is agreement on the need for sacrifices on all sides.
"Raising the statutory limit for our national debt must not, however, be the end game. It is akin to fixing a leaking pipe but failing to pump out the flooded basement caused by that leak.
"We may avoid becoming the world's biggest panhandler. But a debt ceiling agreement is only the starting point for a necessary but so far little understood solution to the problem of the economy-sapping debt itself.
"None of the plans gaining currency in Washington -- the Gang of Six, the Ryan budget, the Bowles-Simpson report, or even the outline of a 'grand bargain' -- addresses the actual accumulated $14.5 trillion debt, only in slowing its increase.
"I continue to believe that it is imperative for us to scale the higher ground of economic growth and stability. For continued world leadership we must agree to a plan to eliminate that debt. That discussion must start the discussion after these current negotiations are settled.
"The Debt Free America Act, H.R. 1125, which I have introduced in the House of Representatives, is just such a plan for tomorrow -- and for a decade of tomorrows -- to get us out of crushing debt. To pump out that basement, if you will.
"Debt Free America calls for a consumption fee of 1 percent or less on virtually all transactions in the American economy. The revenue from this transaction fee on consumption would be exclusively dedicated to paying down and retiring the national debt within a decade. Then additional and continuing revenues would provide the government with necessary resources for its many critical functions so that we can undertake broad tax overhaul, including an end to the personal income tax.
"The Debt Free America Act stands alone, in Congress. No other proposal will eliminate our debt and give our economy free reign to grow and prosper. This proposal has been attracting attention and discussion this year, and it's on the radar screen of our nation's leaders. I suggest that it should be the centerpiece of robust discussion about long term solutions, not short term fixes.
"We are not engaged this summer in a debate about math. We are talking about greatness. And greatness compels a discussion -- about tackling and erasing the national debt that holds us back. We cannot follow the Greatest Generation with the default generation.
"The United States of America has a well-earned place of world leadership. We did not achieve greatness on the cheap. Whether it meant winning World War I or World War II, putting a man on the moon, building the interstate highway system or developing a nuclear capacity, America's leaders and citizens have stepped up with the will -- and the resources -- to get the job done. The lesson of our history is we must pay a cost to maintain leadership in the world. Or we will suffer the consequences."
SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah