Issue Profile: The Debt Buy-Down Act

Jun 06, 2012

The national debt is now over $15.7 trillion. Instead of trying to figure out how to pay down that debt, Congress continues to grapple over how to reduce the growth of future spending. And whenever they do manage to cut spending, they just spend it somewhere else. Absent real reform from the government, the American people will likely see their tax rates skyrocket in some desperate, European-style attempt to stave off Armageddon.

Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has introduced a bill that would allow taxpayers to bypass the big spending paralysis that continues to grip Washington. The Debt Buy-Down Act (H.R.634) would require the IRS to allow taxpayers to designate up to 10% of their tax liability toward paying off the debt by way of a simple check-off on their tax reforms. This would allow taxpayers to force Congress to use their tax dollars for debt reduction, since it is clear that they cannot do that on their own.

In addition to this, the bill would also require spending reductions in the next year in the amount collected from taxpayers who designate their tax liability to debt reduction. If Congress fails to cut spending in that amount, the spending reductions are achieved in an across-the-board cut, exempting Social Security benefits, military benefits and interest payments on the debt.

Rep. Flake introduced the bill in February of 2011. In March of that year, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced companion legislation in the Senate, with Sen. Rubio releasing the following statement:

"At a time when too many of our congressional leaders are unwilling to deal with the debt crisis, and our President is absent from the debate, this will give individual Americans the chance to deal with it themselves. This is the type of innovative solution we need in Washington to empower taxpayers when too many politicians would rather focus on the next election than a $14 trillion debt spiraling out of control."

The American people have grown tired of the Washington status quo. By allowing citizens to take matters into their own hands, the Debt Buy-Down Act would cut spending and pay down.