Mark Udall: The global economy |

Mark Udall: The global economy

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall

As I've traveled across our state in the last two years, Coloradans from Southern Colorado to the Western Slope and to the Eastern Plains have told me that they think the focus in Washington, D.C., should be on two things — the economy and getting our spending under control. They want to know when the jobs are going to come back and when our budget will be balanced. Unemployment remains stubbornly high. Add that to government spending that has spun out of control and you have the perfect storm.

The government can't create the jobs we need; only the private sector can. That is why my focus as senator is putting the right policies in place to make sure businesses have the tools to succeed, while making sure that our government is as lean and responsive to our economic needs as possible.

Our debt is one of the greatest threats to the long-term success of our country, and our interest payments are quickly inhibiting our ability to invest in America. I'm fighting for measures that would restore sanity to federal budgeting by strengthening Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, paying down our debt and reining in government spending. The president should have the ability to eliminate wasteful spending with a line-item veto. And we should do away with earmarks permanently and require Congress to balance the federal budget.

In pursuit of fiscal discipline, however, we must be careful not to eat our seed corn or lose sight of what made our country the global economic leader. The goal shouldn't be to make government smaller but to make it smarter.

Let's continue those federal investments in innovation, education and infrastructure that will help our economy grow and enable our communities to attract new businesses, but scrap overlapping and unnecessary programs and regulations. Let's create an environment for entrepreneurship and produce an educated and trained work force ready to compete in a rapidly changing global marketplace. Let's encourage the innovators and inventors who are creating the jobs of the future, whether by reforming the tax code or by supporting policies that help bring their ideas to market.

America has tremendous potential for growth, as we've demonstrated many times in our past. Colorado in particular has nurtured new ideas — from supporting creative ways to educate children to developing new methods of generating energy. We can help usher in a new era of growth with the right investments and wise belt-tightening.

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But we also will need to change the culture in Washington. Politicians too often stand up for partisan politics, harnessing our anxieties and playing off our frustrations, rather than standing up for the people they represent and speaking to the best in us. Obstruction and filibuster have become the watchwords of the Senate. I would like to replace them with civility and a willingness to reach across the aisle to get things done.

My mother, Sam, was a true daughter of the West. She was humble, hard working, pragmatic and fiercely independent, with a firm belief in self-reliance. She taught me that strength comes from working together, sharing common goals and looking out for one another. But the most important lesson she taught me was we did not inherit the world we live in today from our parents. Rather, this is a world we're borrowing from our children.  We have a moral obligation to return it to them — as our parents did for us — in better condition than when we got it. 

That has been my guiding principle as an elected official. Now is the time to combat our economic problems in an effective, comprehensive manner so that we can give our children a stronger, healthier future, and so that Colorado and the nation are positioned to win the global economic race.

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