Concurrent Resolution on the Budget Fiscal Year 2014by Senator John Cornyn
Posted on 2013-03-20
CORNYN. Mr. President, I will be brief because I know we have
other speakers on the floor.
This is all we need to know about the budget that was voted out of the Budget Committee, along party lines, with Democrats carrying the day: It would raise spending by about 60 percent, it would raise taxes by $1.5 trillion, it would increase our national debt by $7.3 trillion, and--this is the most important part--it would never ever, ever balance.
That is the exact opposite of what America needs to get our economy moving again and get a handle on our long-term finances. We have already reached a point where the Federal spending levels are unsustainable. We all know that. We have already reached a point where our national debt is exerting a drag on our economy.
I read the other day the President said there is no risk of an immediate debt crisis. We can debate that. But what we cannot debate is that our national debt is so big that it is dragging down economic growth, crushing job creation, and resulting in a loss of hope and certainly a loss of opportunity for 23 million Americans who are out of work or who are working part time and who want to get back to work and provide for their families.
We also know, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that an unprecedented--or at least in the last 30 years--number of Americans have just simply given up looking for work. They have been so discouraged that the labor participation rate is at a 32-year low.
When our colleagues across the aisle say all we need is just a little bit more revenue; in other words, more taxes, we have already seen taxes go up by more than $1.6 trillion since President Obama became President.
Simply put, we cannot act as if the laws of fiscal gravity do not apply to the Congress or the Federal Government. That is why every single Senator on this side of the aisle has cosponsored a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, which would require the Federal Government to live within its means and require a congressional supermajority to raise taxes or raise the debt ceiling.
I have heard colleagues across the aisle say: We can't pass a balanced budget amendment. That would tie Congress's hands.
That is the point. It would tie Congress's hands in spending money we do not have, running up these dangerous debts, and being a wet blanket on economic growth and job creation.
How do we know that government can live within its means? Virtually every State has some type of balanced budget requirement. Why should the rules in Washington be any different? Some across the aisle argue--I think they actually believe this--that embracing fiscal discipline will jeopardize the safety net. In fact, the opposite is true. If we do not embrace sensible fiscal discipline, our safety net programs will eventually collapse because we will not have the money to provide for the national security and we will not have the money to provide the safety net programs we all agree are necessary for the most vulnerable of our citizens.
As I have said before, if we reform some of these programs gradually--as the Senator from Mississippi was referring to, Medicare and Social Security--we could minimize the impact and protect our most vulnerable citizens. But if we do nothing to reform and preserve Social Security and Medicare and we experience a Greek- or Spanish-style debt crisis, these programs will be slashed abruptly. The very people our colleagues say they want to protect the most will be hurt the most because the cuts will be much harsher and they will be disproportionately impacted.
One last point. By reducing the growth of Federal spending--and that is all we are talking about doing; we are not talking about cuts in the sense that anybody else in America talks about cuts; we are talking about just reducing the rate of increase in Federal spending ever so slightly--but by reducing the growth of Federal spending, we would prevent the need for tax hikes in the future. Indeed, that is what I hear from so many people in the private sector. When we ask them: Why are you sitting on the sidelines with cash in the bank, and why aren't you investing in either new physical structure or jobs, they say: Because the debt is so high and Congress has shown a lack of willingness to deal with it, all we can do is expect that taxes are going to be a whole lot higher and greater burdens placed on job creators, and so we think the more prudent thing is to sit on it and not invest it in new job creation.
But new tax hikes would increase long-term economic uncertainty, and they would discourage job creation. Conversely, if we work hard to keep taxes within reason and certainly not raise them any more than have already been raised, this would increase long-term economic certainty and encourage job creation. After all, investors and business owners and job creators are not stupid. They understand that without real spending restraint and real entitlement reform, we are ultimately headed for another massive tax increase.
[[Page S1997]] Indeed, that is what this budget, voted out by our Democratic colleagues along party lines, promises: higher taxes and more spending. That is exactly what this economy does not need for us to get back on track, to create the jobs and to create the opportunities for people to provide for their families and live the American dream.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington. State.