Economic growth trumps tax-and-spend
by U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry
Hickory, April 16, 2009
There is an alternative approach to reviving the economy that does not fall squarely on the backs of middle class America. We must allow taxpayers to keep more of their money to provide for their families and save for retirement. We must provide incentives for small businesses to create jobs. Sustained economic growth, not higher taxes and limitless spending, will rebuild the economy of Western North Carolina, and all of America.
Yesterday was Tax Day in America. Here in Western North Carolina, thousands of citizens filed their taxes before the deadline. This day serves as an annual reminder of how working families are overtaxed in this country. While Tax Day is never a day for rejoicing, the outlook for the American taxpayer has never looked worse.
Taxes are the drug of a federal government hopelessly addicted to spending. Western North Carolina families are tightening their belts to make ends meet. The bureaucracy in Washington is not. In good times or bad, government spending never slows.
Even by that standard, the recent avalanche of spending by the Democrat-controlled Congress and White House is downright frightening. In the first 50 days of the new Administration, Washington Democrats spent nearly $1 billion an hour. Yes, $1 billion an hour.
America’s economic recovery will not come from riding the one-trick pony of lavish government spending. Because for every dollar the government spends, it must take that dollar from taxpayers or borrow that dollar from another country. Even then, American taxpayers must pay back that loan to China, plus interest.
I don’t doubt the good intentions of either party in Congress. I continue to support bipartisan spending initiatives, like extending jobless benefits, to help workers get back on their feet. Everyone wants to help the little guy. But in the end, we are not helping the little guy by increasing his tax burden and overloading him with debt. Especially when you consider that the average U.S. household already has nearly $11,000 in high-interest credit card debt.
The federal budget working its way through Congress resembles an irresponsible teenager’s spending spree with their parents’ credit card. The rampant deficit spending in this budget will result in a national debt larger than the total amount of debt accumulated by the federal government from 1789 to today. The $1 trillion increase in spending alone is enough to pay off the credit card debt of every American.
The budget raises taxes on all Americans by $1.4 trillion, the largest increase in history. And that’s really only a drop in the bucket when you consider that every American will be saddled with $70,000 in debt as a result of this budget. Worse, the Democrats’ small business tax hikes are a job-killer at a time when our first priority should be protecting and creating jobs.
I voted for an alternative budget that holds the line on discretionary spending while instituting tax policies that actually stimulate economic growth. This balanced budget does not raise taxes or cut veterans health care and defense programs. The guiding philosophy of this alternative budget is to cut, save and incentivize economic growth.
Responsible management of the public purse requires making hard decisions. But politicians do not specialize in hard decisions. Spending more money is always the most convenient and easiest course of action.
The cost of taxpayer-funded bailouts has now reached $12.8 trillion. That is roughly the size of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or the value of everything produced in the United States last year. While I support strategies to stabilize financial markets and unfreeze consumer lending, I voted against the blank-check bailouts which have largely failed to achieve these goals.
The workers of Western North Carolina are right to see these bailouts as unfair to our area. When bad trade deals devastated the manufacturing base of our local economy, the furniture and textile industries never got a bailout.
Yesterday, I joined many of my constituents who held a Taxpayer Tea Party to protest the reckless taxing and spending in Washington. These taxpayers may not have dumped barrels of tea overboard like our revolutionary forefathers, but they are fed up taxpayers nonetheless.
There is an alternative approach to reviving the economy that does not fall squarely on the backs of middle class America. We must allow taxpayers to keep more of their money to provide for their families and save for retirement. We must provide incentives for small businesses to create jobs.
Sustained economic growth, not higher taxes and limitless spending, will rebuild the economy of Western North Carolina, and all of America.