Vern Buchanan recently returned from a visit to Beijing.
During that visit, he heard about a plan to create 20 million jobs each year.
Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, met last week with President Barack Obama and told him the United States also needs to make job creation a priority.
“We need to focus on creating jobs in terms of small businesses,” Buchanan told a crowd of approximately two-dozen people during a listening session Saturday, March 16, at Longboat Key Town Hall. “My focus is: No. 1, jobs, and No. 2, to try to get a balanced budget amendment.”
Buchanan brought two charts to Saturday’s listening session, during which he focused on jobs, the economy and spending.
One was labeled “Crushing Burden of Debt” and showed U.S. debt held by the public as a share of the economy. It showed the share spiking at 100% during World War II but staying well below 50% until the mid-2000s. The chart shows debt rising to 250% of the economy by 2040.
A second chart showed government spending as a share of the economy rising to nearly 30% of the economy by 2040, while revenues remain around 20%.
Every day, between 10,000 and 15,000 Americans turn 65, making them eligible for Medicare, Buchanan said. The trend will continue for the next 20 years.
“We have to find a way to make sure Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — all great programs — are going to be viable long term,” he said.
Buchanan, who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, said he supports a reform of the current tax code, but declined to describe specific changes he would support after resident Larry Grossman asked what tax loopholes he would eliminate.
When a young woman pointed out just four people who appeared to be under 30 were in attendance at the listening session, Buchanan said he would like to see universities display his graphs about spending and debt, to go along with an intelligent discussion among college students.
When a woman described Obama as “Marxist,” Buchanan stressed the need for compromise, citing Democrats’ control of the White House and U.S. Senate and Republicans’ control of the House.
“The reality is, for the next three-and-a-half years, you have to deal with the president,” he said.