- - Monday, March 25, 2013

The iconic American poet Robert Frost wrote that “two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” The House and Senate recently put forward two very different budget paths for our country to follow. One meets the challenges we face head-on by making responsible choices. The other puts off tough decisions and continues business as usual.

The House budget plan will put us on a path to prosperity. The plan would balance the budget in 10 years, while modestly increasing spending by 3.5 percent a year over the next decade. The sensible spending controls and much-needed reforms would still allow for significant investments on important priorities.

Importantly, the House plan would lower taxes so people can keep more of their hard-earned money and would repeal the president’s health care law so employers won’t be taxed out of business. The plan also calls for modest reforms to Medicare to protect the programs for current recipients and save it for our children.

The Senate budget plan will put us on the wrong road. Their plan — the first one they’ve put forward in more than four years — raises taxes by $1 trillion, not to balance the budget, but to allow the government to continue its unrestrained spending. It calls for more spending, more borrowing and more debt, which will relegate our children and grandchildren to a future less prosperous than ours. The Senate plan never balances and spends $5 trillion more than the House plan over the next 10 years.

Which path should we choose?

The Senate plan changes very little. It keeps us on a path where the economy just isn’t working for too many Americans. It’s a path where good jobs are hard to find, where gas and groceries cost too much, where taxes are too high, and where paychecks aren’t going as far as they used to. It’s a path that ignores the fact that Medicare and Social Security are going broke just as retiring baby boomers need those programs the most.

The House plan takes a path less frequented by politicians. It’s a path where we don’t promise everything to everyone. It’s a path that controls spending sensibly so we can spend the limited resources we have on the programs we need. It’s a path toward lower taxes, where people get to keep more of their hard-earned money, and where the government lives within its means so future generations can escape crushing debt.

People are really hurting in this economy and need help now. The House budget calls for making decisions that will lead to a healthier economy today and a much brighter future for every American. The Senate budget calls for more of the same. Which road we choose will make all the difference.

Rep. Luke Messer, Indiana Republican, serves on the House Budget Committee.