Last Wednesday, President Obama requested approximately $6.2 billion to combat the Ebola epidemic. As Congress examines and debates this proposal, it is an important opportunity to reexamine our government’s budgetary policies.
Whether it’s Ebola, ISIS, or the child migrant crisis, our nation faced a number of unforeseen challenges this year that required action (and emergency spending) by the federal government. These challenges serve as reminders of a key underlying purpose of fiscal responsibility: To enable the country to deal with the unexpected.
We can’t predict the future. But having lower debt and deficits can give us the fiscal flexibility to act quickly when crises arise. Alternatively, irresponsible budget policies leave the government with higher borrowing costs and fewer resources to deal with changing circumstances.
Furthermore, responsible budgeting isn’t just about keeping spending in line with revenue. It’s about making sure our tax and spending policies reflect our priorities as a nation.
If federal investment in hospital and emergency preparedness is important to us, for example, we must be...