As Americans stare down a road of economic uncertainty, the White House has issued yet another spending plan that it says will put Americans back to work. Shoveling more tax dollars out the door can’t make up for the President’s first stimulus plan that turned out not to be so shovel-ready after all.
Adding insult to injury, the President is pitching to pay for his $447 billion plan by raising taxes. He says it’s a matter of fairness. Fair to whom? Raising taxes on small business owners will not help create jobs. Instead of rewarding risk and ambition, the President’s so-called Buffett Rule would siphon away job-creating capital and investment for Main Street and send it to Washington to spend.
Considering Washington’s poor track record for prudent fiscal stewardship, it doesn’t make sense to believe that raising taxes on the wealthy will solve Washington’s deficit disorder.
Just consider a recent audit by the internal watchdog at the U.S. Justice Department. The analysis revealed extravagant spending on the taxpayer’s dime, including conference fees charging $16 per muffin and $8.24 per cup of coffee. Has the federal bureaucracy even heard of sticker shock? The taxpaying public deserves better. The audit exposes yet another example of the type of excessive, wasteful spending that tells taxpayers Washington just doesn’t get it. In fact, spending by the Justice Department on conferences has increased from $48 million in 2008, to $73 million in 2009 and $92 million in 2010.
And yet the President is trying to score political points with what he’s calling the Buffett Rule, named after the billionaire investor who likes to say he doesn’t pay enough taxes. First, let’s be clear on one point. No one is stopping Warren Buffett from sharing more of his income with Uncle Sam. But it’s irresponsible and disingenuous for the President to portray the Buffett Rule as the solution to the federal government’s enormous budget shortfall. In fact, the Buffett Rule is just another, more complicated version of the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT. The AMT, originally intended to tax a small number of rich individuals who didn’t pay any federal tax, now hits millions of middle-class families. Those wealthy who don’t want to pay any tax will always have an army of lawyers and accountants to help them. An additional AMT isn’t going to change that.
What’s more, penalizing risk-takers and job creators will not help grow the economy. Strangling small businesses with red tape doesn’t help create jobs. We need public policy to promote wealth creation, not to stifle ambition.
As policymakers, analysts and investors try to find a pulse in the U.S. economy, American households are hesitant to spend and businesses are bracing for slower growth. With 25 million Americans looking for work, job creation is priority number one. Consumer confidence won’t recover without paychecks.
Partisanship and poll-driven ideology such as the Buffett Rule need to take a back seat. Instead, Washington needs to let America’s entrepreneurs; innovators and risk takers get America back on the road to economic recovery.
Congress gave the green light to ramp up America’s entrepreneurial spirit with passage of the America Invents Act. As a sponsor of the bipartisan patent reform legislation signed into law in September, I worked to protect inventors’ rights and shift innovation and investment in our economy into the fast lane.
The new law gives fast-track approval process to start-ups, cutting an average wait time. When entrepreneurs need critical investment to get their business off the ground and running, patent ownership can mean the make-or-break difference.
Getting ideas, inventions and goods to the market sooner will help foster economic growth and employment on Main Street USA. The America Invents Act addresses the backlog at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and recognizes the outdated patent review system slows innovation with costly litigation and delays.
The newly updated patent laws will give America’s scientists, researchers and engineers an edge in the global marketplace. Public policies that clear the way for American businesses to compete and give consumers what they want will help put America on the path towards long-term prosperity. Washington needs to steer clear of regulatory roadblocks and burdensome taxes that would send the U.S. economy in the wrong direction.
Let’s be clear. The Buffett Rule would not help the U.S. avoid a double-dip recession or encourage employers to put Help Wanted signs in their storefronts on Main Street.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011