Forbes on the issues

Published 10:32 pm Saturday, August 27, 2011

China’s military power

This week, the Department of Defense released its annual report to Congress on military and security developments in China, which was originally due, by law, March 1, 2011. I sent letters to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon calling for the release of the report.

The report on China’s military power acknowledges China’s insatiable desire to become a ‘world class economic and military power’ as it advances toward transforming its military into a dominant regional force by 2020 and an unrivaled international power by 2050.

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At the same time that China is meeting its goals of its sustained modernization program and are steadily increasing their own military budget, our Pentagon has skipped a generation of modernization, repeatedly failed to meet its own goals from shipbuilding to bolstering our fleet of combat aircraft, and is currently facing the masthead of a trillion dollars in defense cuts.

There is no question that China is rapidly closing the technology gap and striving to challenge the United States’ military prowess — there is a question, though, of whether the United States will simply cede its global and military leadership role to a nation with uncertain intentions, but known disregard for human rights, basic freedoms, and democratic institutions.

National debt

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released its Budget and Economic Outlook report. The report’s projected deficit for the next decade was $3.2 trillion lower than at the beginning of the year. While this is some progress, we still have a lot of work to do: the $1.3 trillion budget deficit that the CBO projects for 2011 will be the third-largest shortfall in the past 65 years (exceeded only by the deficits of the preceding two years).

The CBO notes that this year’s deficit stems in part from the long shadow cast on the U.S. economy by the financial crisis and the recent recession. It is necessary that Washington make strong efforts to support small business growth and encourage job creation.

That is why I championed such solutions as relieving regulatory burdens that have been placed on small businesses and creating a simpler and fairer tax code. I have consistently cosponsored and voted for legislation that supports and protects small business and I have voted against taxpayer bailouts of large financial firms.

Constitution Caucus

“The Constitution of the United States was made not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity — unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity.” — Henry Clay

Henry Clay, America’s “Great Compromiser,” knew that there were some things that could not be compromised. Chief among them is our Constitution.

The Constitution establishes our structure of our government, our method for passing laws, and the duties of the federal government. Throughout all of this organization, though, the chief principle among the entire document is the fact that our Constitution grants limited, enumerated powers to the federal government to ensure that individual liberties and freedoms are protected. It is this focus on individual rights that makes the American experiment unique. It is this focus on freedom that makes the Constitution the world’s longest surviving written charter of government.

As you may know, I am a member of the Congressional Constitution Caucus, which is dedicated to preserving the true intent of our Founding Fathers. This bipartisan caucus provides an educational forum regarding Constitutional principles and fosters discussion of the appropriate role of the federal government.