Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 5, 2011, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Burton) is recognized for the remainder of the hour as the designee of the majority leader.
Mr. Speaker, I was talking to my good friend on the other side of the aisle, a Democrat, Greg Meeks, and Greg said that if we would raise taxes, put taxes on the table, that he would be willing to put cuts and entitlements and other things on the table in an equal measure; and I told him that there was no way that we could raise taxes enough to offset the things that really needed to be dealt with.
We have got to control spending. We have got to cut spending. We have got to look at the entitlements and the rules and regulations that we have to live by and make dramatic changes in government if we're going to balance the budget.
This year, we have reached over $15 trillion in debt--$15 trillion. That kind of goes right past most people because they can't imagine what a trillion dollars is. But $15 trillion, just to put it in perspective, it took the Presidencies of George Washington all the way to Bill Clinton to amass the same amount of debt that President Obama has racked up in 32 months.
Now, think about that: from George Washington to Bill Clinton, the amount of money in debt that we've added has been reached in 32 months by President Obama.
We have to get control of spending. It's absolutely essential. Otherwise, we'll be in the same shape as many of those countries in Europe, like Greece.
The President's solution to the burgeoning problem is to increase taxes, as I said. So I went through the amount of taxes it would take and what we would have to do to reach the goals that the President talks about.
Now, if you raise the taxes on everybody that makes over $250,000 to 100 percent--in other words, you take every dime that they make, 100 percent, above $250,000--that would yield about $1.4 trillion, and that would keep government running for 141 days. So if we took all the money that people make over $250,000, you would still only run government for less than half a year.
If you gave the $400 billion of profits that was reaped by the Fortune 500 companies and gave them the same 100 percent tax treatment, you could add another 40 days to the amount of time that we could run the government.
So taxing is not going to solve the problem.
Now, Herbert Hoover, when he was President, decided--a Republican--that the way to help stop the economic tragedy that was about to occur was to raise taxes on businesses and individuals, and what happened? We ended up with the greatest depression in the history of this country.
Now, President Obama said the one thing that you don't want to do during a time of recession is raise taxes, and yet that's what he's advocating and my Democrat colleagues are advocating right now: raise taxes during a time of economic recession.
When people talk about unemployment in this country, they say, well, now it's 8.2 percent. But if you look at the people who dropped off the unemployment rolls and those who are underemployed, the unemployment rate is probably closer to 15 percent. So the figures we are getting from the administration are really not that accurate.
It's extremely important that the administration, and my Democrat colleagues here in the House and especially in the Senate, take a hard look at where we're going. The projections are over the next 10 years we're going to increase the deficit by at least $1 trillion a year. We cannot afford that. This country will go completely bankrupt. You'll see inflation that you won't believe.
Right now the Fed is printing money to cover the expenditures that we're incurring day after day after day. That money they're using, they're buying bonds with it, Treasury bonds. So that money is not actually being seen in circulation. But the fact is that we're increasing the debt by printing money at the Fed on a daily basis. In Europe, the European Central Bank is doing the same thing with the euro. This country and the rest of the world is heading toward an inflationary problem that's going to be unbelievable.
Now, people say in this country right now we haven't seen any inflation. If you look at the figures that are coming out from the administration, inflation last year went up about 1 to 2 percent, but they're including in that figure all the new technologies that are taking place. They're not going to the grocery store.
I went to the grocery store last week and bought four apples at a cost of almost $5. Three tomatoes cost almost $5. If you go to the gas pump today--and my colleague from Indiana (Mr. Pence) talked about that just a few minutes ago. If you go to the gas pump today, it's almost $4 for a gallon of gas. So the inflation rate on staples, on things that we use on a daily basis is probably well over 10 percent, maybe even higher than that.
We don't know, but the administration says it's only 1 to 2 percent. Talk to the wives and husbands of people that are really strapped for cash right now, and you will find that it's costing them a great deal more than that on a daily basis for gasoline, food, clothes, and everything else.
It's extremely important that we get control of spending. This is not the time to raise taxes. The President has said that himself, especially back in 2008 and 2009. Yet now they are taking a different tack and saying we need to raise taxes.
That would be like throwing gasoline on a fire. We should not be raising taxes. We should be addressing the spending side of the ledger; and if we do that, we will get this country back on the right track.
I just got back from Europe. I took a codel over there to Brussels to meet with the finance people in the European Union to find out where they are heading, and they're heading in a very difficult direction right now. If Greece goes belly up, it's very likely that you're going to see other countries go belly up. And we have investments in money market funds and bonds that we've purchased in those countries. And if those countries default, it's going to affect the United States as well. So we need to get our house in order so that we don't end up in the same bailiwick that Europe is in right now that could cause severe economic problems in this country.
So, Mr. Speaker, I'll end by saying it's important to get control of spending. This is not the time to raise taxes. A poll was taken recently by the Politico magazine here on Capitol Hill, and 75 percent of the people in this country that were polled said not to raise taxes. So the people get it. I just hope that the White House will.
The United States still finds itself in a spending driven debt crisis.
The National Debt has now surpassed an unprecedented $15 trillion dollars.
House Republicans approved a budget that would have put a stop to spending money that we don't have as well as cutting $6.2 Trillion Dollars more than the President's budget. The Democrats blocked it.
The U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio is now officially over 100 percent (approx. 110 percent at the end of 2011).
To put the severity of this crisis into perspective, it took from the presidencies of George Washington to Bill Clinton to amass the same amount of debt that President Obama has racked up in the past 32 months.
The President's solution to the burgeoning problem his Administration's reckless behavior has caused? Increase Taxes.
The Problem, according to the President is simply that the most successful among us simply aren't paying their fair share . . .
This sentiment has most recently manifested itself in the President's proposed budget, in which he has increased taxes to the tune of $1.5 Trillion Dollars.
The simple reality of the situation is that this is nothing more than campaign rhetoric, employed in hopes of fomenting class warfare and dividing the American people.
``You cannot tax your way into prosperity.''
We learned this after the 1929 stock market crash when Herbert Hoover, a Republican, signed legislation to sharply increase taxes on businesses, who were seen as the catalyst for the market crash.
Hoover's draconian tax increases, fueled by a similar populist outcry heard today, ultimately served as the first salvo in a series of policy missteps that would ultimately lead to the Great Depression of the 1930's.
Keep In Mind That:
Even If Congress imposed a 100 percent tax, taking all earnings above $250,000 per year, it would yield $1.4 Trillion Dollars. That would keep the government running for 141 days.
The problem is there are 224 more days left in the year.
If we gave the $400 Billion Dollars of profits reaped by the Fortune 500 the 100 percent tax treatment . . . We Could fund the Government for another 40 days.
It was not too long ago that President Obama himself was quoted as saying, ``You do not raise taxes during a recession.''
If only he had the resolve to heed his own advice.
The American people also believe that the course of action taken by Hoover and endorsed by Obama is not the right way forward.
In a recent poll in The Hill Newspaper, 75 percent of American's polled felt that, the ``most appropriate top tax rate for families earning $250,000 or more'' is 30 percent or less. This would be 5 percent less than what this income group currently pays.
This is in stark contrast to the 40 percent tax rate that Obama and like-minded Democrats in the Congress have called for to enact in 2013.
When one couples this with the expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts . . . We are creating an environment where the entire tax code as we know it will cease to exist.
If we continue in this vein, in 2013:
The 8 out of 10 businesses in America that file taxes as individuals will see their tax rate go to 44.8 percent.
This will effectively kill what little growth our embattled economy has left.
Despite the top marginal tax rate varying between 35 percent and 91 percent since 1960, Federal tax collections have been between 15 and 20 percent of the nation's Gross Domestic Product every year since 1960.
From this we can infer whether taxes are high or low, people make adjustments in their economic behavior so as to keep the government tax take at 15 to 20 percent of the GDP.
History has proven unequivocally that tax rates have always had a greater impact on economic growth than they do on Federal revenues.
It is no longer good enough to kick the can down the road and make this the next Congresses' or next President's problem.
Unless we wish to bring the problems of Europe to our shores it is incumbent on us to champion responsible spending restraint; a repaired safety net; reforms that ensure real health and retirement security; and a simplified tax code oriented toward economic growth.
I yield back the balance of my time.
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