The operation of the federal budget was addressed by Congressman Bruce Westerman Wednesday morning.

The operation of the federal budget was addressed by Congressman Bruce Westerman Wednesday morning.
Westerman addressed a group of individuals during a town hall meeting at Arkadelphia Town Hall.
Westerman, who serves on the Federal Budget Committee, said the budget gives direction to the Appropriations Committee, the Ways and Means Committee and gives boundaries to the remaining committees.
"Our budget is $3.5 trillion per year. It takes a lot of time to sit in meetings and go through $3.5 trillion in expenditures, even when they are talking about it in billions. You hardly ever see any number on the Budget Committee that's less than a billion dollars. That's how big our country is," said Westerman.
According to Westerman, the $3.5 trillion budget should only be approximately $3.2 trillion a year due to amount of tax revenue collected.
"We set records every year for tax revenue. If you hear that we are not taxing enough, I'm not sure how much enough is, but it keeps continuing to increase every year," Westerman said.
Despite the increase in revenue, Westerman said expenditures are also increasing.
As a consequence, Westerman said the country has accumulated a debt of $19 trillion.
"It's a very serious issue. We're too far in debt and we need to be working on ways to fix that," said Westerman, who added he wished that each Presidential candidate would spend more time addressing the national debt.
"This issue is a major threat to our country, to our long-term future. One of the main reasons I decided to run for Congress is because I wanted my kids to have as many opportunities as I had when I got out of high school and college," Westerman said.
To break down the impact of the debt, Westerman said it is equivalent to every American owing a debt of approximately $60,000.
According to Westerman, the three categories the expenditures are divided into are automatic spending, mandatory spending and discretionary spending.
Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, welfare programs and interest on the debt comprise 68 percent of expenses.
"By 2026, the Congressional Budget Office says three-fourths of everything spent will be under mandatory spending," said Westerman.
If the discretionary spending budget was balanced, the debt would increase drastically due to the increasing cost in other programs.
According to Westerman, the interest on the debt is what scares him the most. He also noted the threat of a depletion in Medicare in 2030 and in Social Security in 2034.
"The social welfare program is growing in astronomical rates. Medicaid is growing at 16 percent per year," said Westerman.
Westerman believes controlling spending is one of the keys to solving the problem.
"We should have fixing this 10 or 15 years ago. Every time we wait, the compounding value of interest makes it worse," said Westerman.
In addition, Westerman believes that providing more jobs would help remedy the problem.
"I don't think the solution is as complex as you think. All it takes is the willpower and a group of people all working together, who number one, understand the problem," Westerman said.