Every year, Congress should pass a budget and approve legislation that provides a year’s worth of funding for government operations. Last year, under a Democrat-led House and Senate, it did neither; and that is why lawmakers struggled to craft a measure to fund the government for the next six months (in order to avoid a government shutdown).
The House of Representatives will soon begin to consider a budget plan for the next fiscal year (which starts on Oct. 1, 2011 and ends Sept. 30, 2012).
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who authored the budget, believes it could reverse Washington’s trend of spending beyond its means and passing the debt onto our children and grandchildren. I believe he’s right on target.
Congressman Ryan’s budget reflects the kind of difficult, and politically-unpopular, choices that lawmakers will need to make in
order to do something about our unsustainable spending and debt. It would return federal spending (specifically, what is known as non-defense discretionary spending) to 2008 levels, before the massive spending unleashed by the Obama administration. The spending cuts proposed in Ryan’s budget total $5.8 trillion over 10 years.
The budget also calls for sensible and growth-promoting tax policy. The budget contemplates a top tax rate of 25 percent for individuals and businesses. Currently, the tax rate on businesses is 35 percent, the highest in the developed world. That rate discourages investment and job creation and makes America an expensive place in which to do business. No wonder so many businesses are moving operations overseas.
In an April 4 column in the Wall Street Journal, John Taylor, an economics professor at Stanford, Gary Becker, a Nobel Prize winner, and George Shultz, a former Secretary of Labor, Treasury, and State, write that “It’s time for a game-changer — a budget action that will stop the recent discretionary spending binge before it gets entrenched in government agencies.”
At the heart of any “game-changing” budget is an effort to reduce federal spending, as Representative Ryan’s would do.
“Credible actions that reduce the rapid growth of federal spending and debt will raise economic growth and lower the unemployment rate,” Taylor, Becker and Schultz write. “Higher private investment, not more government purchases, is the surest way to increase prosperity.” So, reducing government spending can increase economic productivity and jobs.
I think Congressman Ryan’s budget proposal is an effective blueprint for economic growth. President Obama has sought to stimulate the economy and create jobs by spending trillions of government dollars. What has that gotten us? Record deficits, excessive borrowing — about 40 cents of every dollar the government spends will have to be borrowed — and stubbornly high unemployment. The Ryan blueprint recognizes that the strength of American entrepreneurs and the private sector, not the government, spur the economy and help put people back to work.
Sen. Jon Kyl is the Senate Republican Whip and serves on the Senate Finance and Judiciary committees. Visit his Web site at www.kyl.senate.gov