Seeking a fiscally responsible, pro-growth budget resolution Print
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Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 08:39

Mr. President,

I’m glad we’re finally considering a budget resolution.  It’s been four years since the Senate has passed a budget.  The Senate deficit Majority has been void of leadership on this matter.  While American families and businesses compile a budget each and every year, the Senate deficit Majority has shirked its responsibility.

Producing a budget has even been called “foolish” by the Democratic Majority leader.  After years of record deficits and debt, I think the American people disagree.

While are about to debate a budget resolution, the President hasn’t even proposed his budget for consideration.  The Budget Committee, of which I’m a member, did not hear from a single administration witness in preparation of this budget.

House Budget Chairman Ryan has produced a budget.  Chairman Murray produced a budget.  It’s quite remarkable that the President has yet to submit a budget, even though the law required it by February 4th.

The President plans to release his budget the week of April 8th – two months overdue.  This will be the first time a President has failed to submit a budget until after the House and Senate have acted.

Once again on fiscal issues the President is leading from behind, and he’s set a new low for fiscal responsibility.

During the past four years, we’ve spent well beyond our means.  The gross federal debt has increased by $6 trillion as a result.  Unless we change course, we’ll add another $9 trillion over the next ten years.  The gross debt is larger than the U.S. economy.

It is approaching levels where economists agree – deficits and debt are causing slower economic growth.

During the past four years we witnessed President Obama’s theory on economic stimulus.  We saw a massive expansion of government and deficit spending.  President Obama and the Democrat leadership in Congress pushed spending up to 25 percent of the economy in recent years, particularly with the $800 billion stimulus bill.

That bill was pushed through in the name of economic growth.  It was supposed to keep unemployment below eight percent.  But it wasn’t stimulative.  It didn’t create sustainable job growth.

It was just a big, ineffective spending bill. The economic growth it was supposed to stimulate never materialized.   Now we’re dealing with the deficits and debt caused by that failed stimulus bill.

Despite this failure, the President and the Senate deficit Majority seem even more fixated on growing the government.  According to economic policies of President Obama, government needs to grow even bigger to help our economy.

The overriding belief is that economic growth will only come through private wealth confiscation that supports an even bigger, more intrusive government.  If government just gets a little bit bigger and more involved in every facet of our economy and our lives, that will surely increase the economic prosperity of Americans, right?

Of course not.

The problem is, raising taxes only extracts private capital from job creators and small businesses, where 70 percent of new jobs are created.  And it’s spent wastefully by an inefficient and bloated bureaucracy.  The higher taxes are robbing the unemployed of needed jobs.  The government it supports does not create economic growth or self-sustaining jobs.

This four-year spending binge has led to deficits that crowd out private investment that would otherwise be used to grow the economy and create jobs.  Government doesn’t create self-sustaining jobs.  Government only creates government jobs.  The private sector creates jobs.

It’s the responsibility of the government to create an environment for job growth.  It does this by instituting the rule of law, property rights, a patent system, among others.  Government consumes wealth.  It does not create wealth.

Through economic freedom, entrepreneurs and individuals are free to innovate and prosper.  This budget fails to recognize these simple principles.  The budget presented by the deficit Majority makes no effort to reduce deficits, reduce spending, balance the budget or grow the economy.

Instead, this budget seeks to grow government by taxing more and spending more.  It’s time we recognize that government exists to serve the needs of the people, rather than the people serving the needs of their government.

There are some who believe that government is the only creator of economic prosperity.  And, if others have achieved success, they must be, by default, the cause of others’ hardships.  This type of class warfare demagoguery is harmful to America and our future.  It seeks to divide America.

The budget presented by the deficit Majority is partisan business-as-usual.  It would tax success by another trillion dollars.  It increases government spending.  It ignores the subject of our health care entitlements.  That is simply unacceptable.   It places no priority on ever bringing our budget into balance.

The deficit Majority speaks at length about growing the economy and creating middle class jobs.  But, their budget is perfectly backward.  It does nothing to address economically harmful deficits and debt.  And it includes $1 trillion in job killing tax hikes.  They claim this revenue can be collected without harming the economy by closing loopholes.  The fact is, regardless of how it’s described, a $1 trillion tax increase will affect the middle class and harm the economy and job growth.

A $1 trillion tax hike while economic growth is slow and unemployment remains near 7.7 percent is reckless.  Even worse, the tax increases will not be used to balance the budget.  Higher taxes support even higher spending.

This is the typical tax and spend budget.  This budget was crafted as if we don’t even have a spending problem or debt crisis.  This budget assumes everything is just fine and everything will work out if we simply proceed forward on the current path.  This budget represents a missed opportunity.

You don’t have to take my word for it.  Editorial writers across the country have made similar statements about this budget.

A Washington Post editorial called it a complacent budget plan.  They wrote that the Majority budget fails to recognize the long-term fiscal problems.  I quote, “Partisan in tone and complacent in substance, it scores points against Republicans and reassures the party’s liberal base – but deepens these senators’ commitment to an unsustainable policy agenda.  In short, this document gives voters no reason to believe that Democrats have a viable plan for – or even a responsible public assessment of – the country’s long-term fiscal predicament.”

The Chicago Tribune had similar things to say in their editorial. They described it as a deficit of ambition.  It said, and I quote, “The Democrats, unfortunately, are feigning fiscal responsibility instead of practicing it.  What is needed is a lot more ambition than the Murray plan reflects.  If Democrats don’t like the Republican plan for balancing the budget, they should produce their own.”

Finally, a USA Today editorial referred to it as a namby-pamby budget that underwhelms at every turn.  It states, “The Murray budget neither balances the budget nor reins in entitlements.  Its one-to-one ratio of spending to tax increases might sound balanced, but the spending cuts are not actual reductions.  They are merely reductions in the expected rate of growth.  All this makes the Murray budget barely a Band-Aid.”

I’m sure we’ll hear the term “pro-growth” applied to this budget.  The only thing it can mean is growth in the size and scope of the federal government, and growth in the national debt.

We’ll also hear the term “balanced.”  Don’t be fooled.  The majority is not speaking of a balanced budget.  Their understanding of balance is higher taxes and higher spending.

This budget does not tackle runaway spending.  It raises taxes, but not to balance the budget, but to spend even more.  This budget will grow the government, harm economic growth and increase the debt.

After four years of contemplating a budget resolution, I would have expected a more fiscally responsible budget.
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