I have read many of your comments and wanted to take a minute to explain the purpose for the legislation I will introduce next week. The premise behind the bill is not that we need more revenue (taxes) in America. I wholeheartedly believe our problem is with spending.
However, we must think strategically about how we move forward as a country. I haven’t met anyone who believes America can continue borrowing trillions annually. It is an indisputable fact our country will face economic calamity if we do not end the spending binge in Congress.
The question is how do we accomplish this mission? Having served in the military, I understand the need for strategic planning based on real-time in-theater intelligence gathering.
As I see it, the success probability for our mission to keep taxes low decreases significantly as the size of our national debt continues to skyrocket. Likewise, our mission to limit the size of government will surely be an abject failure if we do not implement permanent reforms that require Congress to balance its budget yearly or limit spending as a percentage of GDP.
How then do we accomplish our conservative mission? It most certainly cannot be done by raising taxes or by agreeing to temporary spending cuts, which is the current strategy of most Republicans. I have a newsflash – Republicans balanced the budget in the mid to late 1990s and the problem is worse today than in almost any other time in history. Why? Absent permanent budget reform government will grow ever larger and taxes will eventually skyrocket.
Looking forward there are a few scenarios that are likely to play out. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has united most of her members in Washington behind a strategy to position the debate to reduce the deficit as shared sacrifice (i.e. cuts to ‘vital’ programs for the poor and middle class coupled with tax increases on the wealthy). As has been reported widely, many Republicans in the House and Senate (members of the gangs of 6 and 100) are privately contemplating a compromise that would involve tax hikes and spending reductions. From my standpoint, this is more of the same absent permanent budget reform.
A second scenario is for Republicans to hold out and insist on a spending-cut only strategy. To be successful, however, one must assume the Republican members of the gangs of 6 and 100 will have a change of heart and will not strike a deal to accept tax increases in return for temporary spending cuts. I invite you to ask yourself how much confidence you have that Republicans in Congress will hold firm and not accept tax increases in exchange for temporary spending cuts? If you do, I have some nice beach-front property in Black Oak I would like to sell.
All kidding aside, even if Republicans were to hold firm, Senate Democrats will never give in because their polling shows their position has stronger support than a spending-cut only strategy. Republican know this, which is so many are working behind the scenes to strike a deal – a bad deal in my humble opinion that exchanges tax increases for temporary spending cuts.
The bill I am introducing takes into account the political realities and is an attempt to change the mindset of Republicans so that we do not get snookered once again by accepting temporary spending cuts while claiming “victory.” I believe we should only accept a tax increase in exchange for permanent budget reform that will never allow Congress to spend our country into oblivion.