Time to Bring Down the Debt

Orrin Hatch

2/16/2011 12:01:00 AM - Orrin Hatch

Sky-high debt is a threat to individual liberty, continued prosperity, and national security. Yet the President’s response to this impending disaster is to pass the buck with a budget that is sadly, a sorry joke.

While the American people are demanding a Churchill to confront our debt, the Administration has delivered us a Chamberlain.

With its latest budget, the Administration claims to reduce the deficit by $1.1 trillion over ten years. That sounds like a mighty big number, but it is not meaningful deficit reduction when you consider that this year’s deficit alone will be $1.65 trillion. At 10.9 percent of our nation’s economic output, this is the largest deficit since World War II.

Yet the White House is trying to claim this budget as the fiscally responsible thing to do. But that spin betrays a profound lack of respect for the intelligence of American citizens. The fact is this budget spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much and it will be our children and grandchildren who will foot the bill.

The Vice President, in promoting the Administration’s latest spending spree, tells Americans that they need to get a grip. With due respect, the American people’s grip on the situation is just fine.

They understand something that apparently has eluded the best and the brightest over on Pennsylvania Avenue. We . . . are . . . out . . . of . . . money.

In order to keep the spending spree going, the Administration is resorting to the old left-wing stand by: massive, job-crushing tax hikes. But even with $1.6 trillion of tax increases in this budget, it still comes nowhere close to reining in our deficits and debt.

For years Democrats have said that if the rich and businesses paid their fair share in taxes, we could balance the budget and reduce the debt. Well, they sure tested it out in this budget.

But the facts just don’t fit. This budget, even while raising taxes on anything that moves, is set to increase the debt by 50 percent. Meaning that tax increases cannot get us there.

The other side claims that, by raising taxes and taking more money out of the economy, the government successfully reduced the deficit back in the 1990s. But the fact is that the Clinton Administration’s own Office of Management and Budget concluded that the tax increases enacted in 1993 accounted for only 13 percent of deficit reduction between 1990 and 2000. As a percentage of deficit reduction, these tax hikes ranks behind other factors such as defense cuts and interest savings.

Furthermore, it is irresponsible to say that our dire fiscal situation is the result of the government not extracting enough money from the people who actually earn it. The President’s budget, with its massive new tax increases and permanent deficits, demonstrates yet again that our problem is spending.

Over the past few years, while Democrats exercised complete control over Washington, non-defense discretionary spending has grown by 24 percent – and by 84 percent if you include the bloated stimulus.

The simple fact is that our deficits have continued to grow in spite of increased revenues. On January 26, CBO published a report that found that federal revenues in 2011 will be $123 billion - or 6 percent - more than they were two years ago, in 2009. Our deficit and debt problems are not being driven by tax relief.

Tax hikes aren’t like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. As American families, small businesses and entrepreneurs well know that money comes from somewhere – namely their paychecks. And even if we spike taxes by over $1.6 trillion – as the President proposes – that will not help us to balance our books.

High spending is driving our deficits and that can only be solved with leadership to dramatically cut spending. We cannot afford to squander another opportunity to restore our fiscal house and the American people will not stop demanding real and substantial leadership on this vital issue. Congress must heed to the will of the American people and impose some much-needed fiscal discipline in Washington. Time is of the essence.