President Reagan famously joked that the federal government’s view of the economy can be summed-up like this: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” Just eight months into the year, it’s apparent that this is no longer just a quip. Rather, it has become the Democrats’ blueprint for their new congressional majority — and as Congress returns to Washington, we’ll see their tax-and-spend plans on full display once again.
I’ve often said that Democrats are running Congress just as I’ve expected them to, and nowhere is this clearer than on their approach to fiscal policy. And on taxes especially, Democrats have proven to be one-trick ponies; rather than pursuing real spending reform, they’ve singled-out tax increases as a “silver bullet” solution to any and every problem facing our nation. This not only demonstrates an appalling unwillingness to make tough decisions when it comes to the federal budget, and runaway entitlement spending in particular. It also places working families squarely in the crosshairs, ready to absorb higher — and often altogether new — taxes to pay for an onslaught of new spending in Washington.
For example, what has been the House Democrats’ response to the tragic bridge collapse in Minnesota? Have they pledged a concerted effort to slash costly pork projects from the bloated federal highway budget and redirect funding toward true priorities? No. Instead, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar, Minnesota Democrat, merely proposed adding an additional 5 cents to the 18.4 cents per-gallon federal gas tax that working families already pay.
And what’s the House Democrats’ plan for identifying the impact of and finding a suitable response to global warming? Have they looked at innovative approaches based on free-market principles that build our economy and provide a cleaner environment? No. Instead, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell, Michigan Democrat, merely proposed a 50-cent increase per-gallon federal gas tax increase and ending the home mortgage tax deduction.
Or how about House Democrats’ proposal for expanding a government-run health care program for low-income children? Did they attempt to forge a bipartisan consensus as Republicans did 10 years ago, when we established the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)? No. Instead, they merely voted to levy an unprecedented new tax on every American who has a private health insurance plan and an incredible 115 percent to 2,200 percent tax increase on tobacco.