Last month our country broke a record — the federal government ran the largest one-month budget deficit in history, reaching $222.5 billion in February. We should all be concerned about this. This should serve as a wake-up call for the government to rein in spending. I am doing what I can in Congress and voting to cut billions week after week, but I can’t do it alone — we must also hold the Senate and the White House accountable.
There is little doubt that Main Street is hurting. Small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open, people are looking for jobs, and the rising gas prices continue to take away from family budgets. In order to create jobs and save our younger generations from bankruptcy, we have to stop spending money we do not have. If our $14 trillion debt was called in today, every single American would have to pay $45,500 to pay it off. This is outrageous. The days of spending money we don’t have on projects we don’t need and that don’t work have got to end. If government operated like the private sector, it would be put out of business.
We must also put an end to economic uncertainty that prevents small businesses from hiring. Duplicative government programs and burdensome red tape only inhibit businesses from growing their staff. Last year alone federal regulations cost the private sector $1.75 trillion. For small businesses with fewer than 20 people, compliance to government regulations costs on average $10,585 per employee each year. I have heard
from my constituents and from people across the country — agencies like the EPA and the BLM are choking the business community. We are seeking to reform these agencies and bring back common sense to the government’s approach to regulating land and the environment.
Washington borrows over 40 cents out of every dollar it spends. This is reckless. Continuous spending and skyrocketing debt only bring on higher taxes, inflation, interest rates and unemployment. That is why I voted to cut $61 billion from our current spending levels. This is the largest discretionary spending cut since World War II. While it is never easy to cut spending, we all must do it. We decreased spending across the board, from the military, to social programs and our own congressional budgets. No one program should be exempt from cutting back on spending. We are all in this together. And for those who believe we should not cut any program, let me point this out: if we were to pay for the expenditures at their current levels though taxes, we would have to raise all personal income tax rates by about 144 percent. The lowest tax bracket would be about 60 percent and the highest tax bracket would approach 88 percent. Unless you are willing to pay well over half your earnings in federal income taxes, then the “don’t cut anything” approach has to be rejected as unrealistic.
This week, I voted to cut $6 billion over the next three weeks. Some say this isn’t enough. They are right, we have a long way to go still. But shutting down the government was not appropriate, so the better path was to make an unprecedented $6 billion cut for a three-week period, and fight for more cuts later, without imposing a government shutdown on the public. (If you think the lines in the airport are long now, wait until you see a government shutdown and no TSA agents working). Others say cutting the $6 billion goes too far. I respectfully disagree. I have maintained a clear voting record of cutting billions from the federal spending. It’s time the Senate and White House do the same.
I have voted to cut over $100 billion from the president’s fiscal year 2011 budget (H.R. 1). I also voted for H.Res. 72, a bill that directs committees to review federal agency rules and regulations that may unfairly harm the ability to create jobs and grow the economy. I voted to cut all congressional budgets by 5 percent, saving taxpayers $35 million per year (H.Res. 22). I voted to cut new spending by $2.6 trillion over 10 years and reduce the deficit by $700 billion when the House repealed the health care reform law. I also voted to cut current government spending back to fiscal year 2008 levels or less, which will reduce non-security discretionary spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels (H.Res. 38).
I stand opposed to the president’s fiscal year 2012 budget. It calls for $8.7 trillion in new spending, $1.6 trillion in new taxes, and adds $13 trillion to the long-term debt. This budget proposal is not reality based, but reflects a wish list based on the fallacy that the government can always print more money.
I firmly believe that the government must tighten its belt and live within its means. It is time we stop the spending sprees and open up the dialogue with the American people. Now is the time for leadership, discipline and perseverance. I will continue to stand up for reining in spending, balancing our budget, and beginning the conversation on preserving the promises we made to our seniors, while improving the viability of entitlement programs for our younger generations. I believe that you know better than the government does when it comes to spending your hard-earned money. Now it’s time to voice your concerns to the Senate and administration.