President’s Budget, Tax Plan is Fiscally Irresponsible

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The administration’s budget and tax plan is fiscally irresponsible will not revitalize the nation’s lagging economy.

In 2001, Congress passed President Bush’s $700 billion tax cut. Since then, almost 3 million private jobs have been lost nationwide, the projected federal budget surplus has been erased, the budget deficit is heading toward $400 billion annually, core government functions like education, veterans affairs, healthcare and homeland security are being shortchanged, and the average American family is paying $4,000 of its federal taxes just toward interest on our national debt.


Now the president wants another tax cut of another $700 billion, which he reduced to $550 billion when his own party members balked, and which would benefit primarily upper income earners. But the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, headed by a former administration member, doubts that that cut would be anywhere near replaced by revenues from increased economic activity.

So, rather than honestly absorb the revenue loss through massive cuts in federal programs, the administration proposes to “pay” for these tax cuts by taking out a mortgage on our financial future, through the largest and fastest increase in overall debt in our country’s history, through an increase in annual deficits totaling over $1 trillion over 10 years, thereby wiping out any reasonable hope of federal budget surpluses and virtually guaranteeing a fiscal crisis when the Social Security balance moves from positive to negative.

What the president is basically saying to our American family is this: I want to reduce our family’s income, and I don’t expect it to be made up anytime soon if ever, but I’m not willing to reduce our expenses, so we’ll just max out our debt and interest payments and hand the mess off to our children.

That is just plain irresponsible. That’s why I twice voted against the federal budget resolution, which would make room for the administration’s tax cut by raising the total federal debt ceiling in one jump from $6 trillion to $7 trillion and, over time, substantially beyond to when annual interest-only paying for each American family would double to $8,000. That is also why this is a bipartisan concern: a number of Republicans have said, privately and publicly, that they oppose any further tax cuts of over $350 billion, and even at that figure we’ll be in long term budgetary distress.

Responsible, affordable, targeted tax cuts can regenerate economies; that’s why I advocated specific tax reductions in the Hawaii Legislature during my tenure, which I believe did in fact contribute to improvements in our economy.

Similarly, we can and should accomplish our goals of short- and mid-term economic revitalization and job creation and of long-term fiscal stability through a combination of lower and middle income and small business tax relief, responsible controls on federal spending to focus resources on core needs, and targeted aid to state and federal governments.

I am hopeful that this message of immediate attention to pressing economic needs and long term fiscal responsibility is delivered to the administration loud and clear as they make their rounds of our country.

”’Congressman Ed Case, a Democrat representing the Second District in Hawaii in the U.S. House of Representatives, is a member of the small business committee. Case, a co-sponsor of a bill targeting increased SBA grants, is a past winner of the Small Business Hawaii Top Legislator Award, and formerly served in the Hawaii State Legislature as a Representative of the Manoa District.”’