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Honest Leadership and Serious Solutions Needed to Lift Debt Burden & Grow Economy

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin
Don Wade & Roma – WLS890AM in Chicago

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Washington, July 14, 2011 | comments

Listen to audio here

On President’s Lack of Solutions: “Leading Reporters On Is Not Leadership”

The House passed a budget to cut about $6 trillion in spending – a budget that actually pays off the debt.  We haven’t even seen an actual plan from the President to fix this problem.  The Senate hasn’t passed a budget in over 800 days.  All we are seeing are Senate Democrats and the President basically outbidding each other on tax increases. 

The President is holding all these press conferences, but I would argue that leading on reporters is not leadership.  We haven’t seen a plan from either the President or the Senate to seriously deal with our debt.

Debt Overhang Stifles Job Creation Today

In the good old days, we used to say that this debt was a threat to future generations – to our children and grandchildren.  Well now the debt is threatening our economy today.  The debt has cast huge shadow over today’s economy – slowing growth & stifling job creation.

Our economy is being held back by Washington’s failed policies: all of this government activism; all of these promises of new tax increases on job creators and on capital; all of these new regulations making it difficult to plan for the future as a business; this massive borrowing binge that we’ve engaged in, driven by all of this new government spending. 

You’ve got to remember, every big deficit that you run simply means that you’re going to have more tax increases tomorrow, higher interest rates tomorrow.  So, when you run these big deficits like we are, that is just showing economic actors – business leaders, small businesses, entrepreneurs, credit markets – that higher taxes and higher interest rates are coming.  And so you’ve got to get your deficits down if you want to take this hangover off of our economy.

Washington’s Leadership Deficit

The President has yet to lead.  He has yet to put a plan out there to fix our debt problem.  The House decided to put a plan out there – our budget; we knew they were laying in wait and that they were going to run all these ads against us and try and scare seniors.  We still felt a moral responsibility to lead, and we thought – maybe naively so – that if we put out a plan then the President would come to the table with his own plan.  Then we could start negotiating on how to cut spending – but the President has yet to do offer any solutions of his own.

We’ve shown him plenty of ways to cut the amount of spending we’re talking about and we still have yet to get anything specific from the President.  He just simply says: ‘Raise taxes. Raise taxes. Raise taxes.’

Our position has been really, really clear: for every dollar that you want to raise the debt limit, Mr. President, we’ve got to cut more than a dollar’s worth of spending.  He’s doing a lot of press conferences, but we have yet to see a full counterproposal from the President.  We haven’t seen a plan from the President or the Senate on how to do this.  And so we’ve put our plan out there – we passed a budget, we’re of course willing to negotiate on how to cut spending, but we really have yet to see anything from them.

We Need Pro-Growth Tax Reform not Job-Crushing Tax Hikes

Tax reform is in our budget we proposed to get rid of all these loopholes in exchange for lower tax rates for everybody so we can have economic growth and job creation.  The problem is the President doesn’t want to lower tax rates.  He wants to raise taxes, broaden the tax base – but also raise tax rates.  We already tax our businesses a lot more than our foreign competitors tax theirs.  So they’re already at a competitive disadvantage. 

The President wants to continue raising those tax rates.  Under the current law that’s coming in that the President had already passed in the last session of Congress, the effective top tax rate in America goes to 44.8%. You throw the Illinois income tax on there, or the Wisconsin income tax on there, and we are taxing our successful small businesses, the job creators of America, at more than 50%.  It’s ridiculous.  It puts us at a huge competitive disadvantage with our foreign competitors.  A small jobs shop in Elkhorn, Wisconsin with 25 employees is not just competing with people in Illinois – they’re competing with people in China, in India, in Brazil, and we’ve got to be mindful of that fact.  If we want to get jobs created, we can’t overtax on our job creators.

Two things are needed to get this situation under control: 1) spending cuts and controls; and 2) economic growth and job creation.

We Need Serious Solutions – Not Scare Tactics

I don’t like talking in brinksmanship terms.  I don’t think that does anybody any good.  I don’t think that’s a service to the country.  I don’t like fanning hysteria.  We have a situation; we’ve got to deal with it.  We do have deadlines.  The spending cut we’re talking about here is about $2.5 trillion over ten years.  The President, under that period, is proposing to spend $46 trillion.  We’re saying instead of spending $46 trillion, why don’t you spend $43.5 trillion or something like that.

I’m really kind of mystified and baffled at the conduct of the White House.  It really does surprise me.  When you’re having talks and negotiations, and then you go to the microphones and start talking about corporate jet loopholes – which never came up in the conversations, which are $3 billion over ten years, which is a provision that he signed in his stimulus bill – it just represents the fundamental lack of seriousness of their actions, and how deeply political they’re acting.  I’m just mystified by it to be honest. 

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