Johnny Isakson's Position Statement on the Economy

I have outlined a five-point plan for boosting our economy and getting our nation’s debt under control to save our country for future generations.

1. We must make a budget and cut spending. Our government must do what every American family has had to do: sit around the kitchen table, reprioritize expenditures and get a budget in line with expenditures. I believe that cutting federal spending is the number one thing we can do to help put expenses in line. We can find those savings in government through attrition, by slowing down government growth, by getting more out of less, and by finding new ways to be efficient.

2. I have tried to be a good steward of federal tax dollars throughout my career by running my Senate office with the same efficiency with which I ran my successful real estate business. I have returned $4.4 million of my office budget to the U.S. government since my election to federal office in 1999.

3. We must change the formula for Social Security. The United States has an historic precedent to follow on this matter. President Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill agreed to a formula change in 1983, moving the age of eligibility to receive Social Security as life-expectancy grows. With advances in medicine and science, we are able to live and work longer. Adjusting the age of eligibility for Social Security benefits, except for those who are currently receiving it, would help secure funding for future generations.

4. We must overhaul Medicare. Depending on what numbers are used, Medicare will be depleted sometime between 2017 and 2024. I am looking at a variety of different plans – such as the Simpson-Bowles Commission recommendations – and I feel that means-testing will likely have to be a part of the eventual solution.

5. We must reform the tax code. I believe that a tax based on consumption makes more sense than the current formula of taxing production. In the meantime, I support closing loopholes in the current code. We ought to be willing to put the tax code on the table and seek reform.

The Obama administration has greatly reduced the nation’s productivity by over-regulating business. I understand and support mitigating risk; however, you cannot remove all risk in a free-enterprise system. We are handicapping ourselves by regulating ourselves right out of business and jobs.