Senior Member of the House Ways and Means Committee; Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee
December 16, 2010
Let me address just a few of the issues that I have been hearing here on the floor. I'm hearing some of my colleagues from the other side of the aisle saying "We just can't afford these tax cuts." Only in Washington is not raising taxes on people considered a "tax cut". What we're talking about here is not cutting taxes; we're talking about keeping taxes where they are and preventing tax increases.
Second point: "We – meaning the government – can't afford this?" Whose money is this after all? Is all the money that is made in America Washington's money, government's money? Or is it the people's money who earned it? I hear all this talk about the death tax, the estate tax: "This is going to give a windfall to these people. All this money going to these privileged people who have built these businesses, made all this money." It's their money! We have a country built on equal, natural rights, where you can make the most of your life, get up, work hard, take risks, become successful, create jobs, grow businesses, earn success – and yes, pass it on to your kids. What on earth is wrong with that? That's the American dream.
To my friends on my side of the aisle, who simply do not like some of the spending in this bill: I do not like it either. Let's cut the spending next year when were in charge. There is junk in the tax code, everybody agrees with this. This is advancing some of the junk in the tax code and what I say to my friends on the other side of the aisle next year: let's get rid of the junk in the tax code when we are in charge. Right now – let's not hit the American people with a massive tax increase.
If we want to get this debt under control, if we want to get our deficit going down, there are two things we need to be doing: we need to cut spending and we need to grow the economy. We need prosperity in the country. We need job creation. We need people going from collecting unemployment to having a job and paying taxes.
Is this a growth package? No, it's not a growth package. It's only a two year extension [of current tax rates]. We're not talking about a pro-growth economic package. We're talking about preventing a destructive economic package from being inflicted on the American people in about two weeks. The last thing you want to do is put more uncertainty in the economy, hit the economy with a huge tax increase, trigger a stock market sell-off and lose jobs. So do we want to make these permanent? You bet we do and that is exactly what we are going to be advancing.
We need economic growth. We need spending cuts. That's exactly what we intend on doing, and I think that's exactly the message that voters sent us. Let's prevent this tax increase from happening. Let's clean up the stuff we don't like in this bill next year. Let's make sure that when people go home for Christmas, they know that they are not going to have a massive tax increase a few days later.
This is a bill that is necessary to prevent our economy from getting worse. This is not a bill that is going to turn it around. Next year, let's pass the policies that will turn our economy around.