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Dave C.
Former Republican MI 4
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    Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

    by Former Representative Dave Camp

    Posted on 2013-03-19

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    CAMPBELL. Mr. Chairman, I don't know if you've been to Spain or not, but I have, just once. It's a beautiful country--nice people, great food, and at one time a large, vibrant, and growing economy, but not today. Today in Spain, over half of the people under 25 years old can't find work. The unemployment amongst all ages in Spain is about what we had during the Great Depression--not the Great Recession, the Great Depression of the thirties. And people on government medical care there can't get it. They can't get it when they want it because they've had to close a lot of their medical clinics in order to save money.

    They had to do that because they waited too long to fix their fiscal problems. They waited until they had a debt crisis, and then they had to do what my friend from Maryland said: they had to impose an austerity program. They raised taxes and cut spending very quickly in a matter of just a year or so because that's what they had to do to continue being able to sell their debt.

    That, Mr. Chairman, is exactly what we don't want to do. This is not speculation. This is not something we have to think about. It's there for us to see, and not just in Spain and Greece and Cyprus--in Japan, in a different form. It's there in other parts of the world. When you borrow so much money that people won't lend you any more, then you put in this austerity which causes these problems.

    Unfortunately, that is what my friends on the other side of the aisle, their budgets will lead us to. More debts, more deficits, kind of a sugar high. They'll say: Oh, yeah, we're going to spend all this money; we'll create all these government jobs. For awhile we'll feel good, until the debt crisis comes, and then all that goes away.

    What the Republican budget does is balance in 10 years, and not so that CPAs like me can achieve some symmetry that makes us feel good. It's because when you balance the budget, you set this balance up. It frees up the economy. People know that we're on that track to balance in 10 years. We won't have a debt crisis. People will know we won't have a debt crisis. The economy is freed up from the burden of too much debt, of knowing that there's a problem with no solution. There will now be a problem with a solution.

    The economy will be freed up, both on the government side and on the private sector, and there will be more jobs and more jobs. That's what the Republican budget promises: an economy that grows and sustainable job creation, not a 1- or 2-year sugar high followed by a collapse. We've seen what not to do. We know the path not to take.

    This Republican budget is the path we should take. I hope everyone will support it.

    Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    First, I want to point out again that our Republican colleagues cannot have it both ways. You can't claim you're going to balance in 10 years and claim that you got rid of all of the ObamaCare provisions, because if you look at this chart, you'll see in the year 2023, 10 years from now, they claim a balance of about $7 billion, right there. And yet if you look at this blue section here and the red section, you've got the revenues from the Affordable Care Act, from ObamaCare, and the savings from Medicare that our colleagues campaigned against last fall, but they kept them right in their budget. Without those items, they don't come close to balance. In fact, they're about $400 billion short, in the 10th year, from balance.

    We believe you've got to focus on getting the economy moving right now. That's why we call in our budget for getting rid of and replacing the sequester now, so you achieve the same deficit reduction over a longer, more measured, targeted period of time and don't do damage to the economy. And we reduce the deficit in a steady way so that it's way down below the growth in the economy by the 10-year window; and we do it in a way that is balanced, meaning we ask for shared responsibility. So we do it through a combination of cuts, but also we do say, for folks at the very high end of the income ladder, we can get rid of some of those tax expenditures, tax expenditures that our Republican colleagues have talked about, but not simply to reduce the rates for high-income individuals, but to help reduce the deficit as part of a balanced approach.

    {time} 1650 Now, if you look at the math on the Republicans' tax reform plan, it drops the top rate for folks at the very top from 39 percent all the way to 25 percent. We know that's going to cost about $4 trillion. They say they're going to make all that money up by taking tax expenditures away just from high-income people. The math doesn't work that way. You're going to have to increase taxes on middle-income taxpayers, or you're not going to hit your deficit target, one or the other.

    So in the Budget Committee, we Democrats said, look, let's say to the Ways and Means Committee, when you do tax reform, don't raise taxes on middle-income taxpayers. And we had an amendment--I've got it right here--Protect the American Middle Class from Tax Increase. We said, if you're going to do tax reform, at least make the commitment that you're not going to increase taxes on middle-income families in order to finance tax breaks for the folks at the very top. Every one of our Republican colleagues on the committee voted ``no'' on that amendment. The committee's got lots of policy instructions on other stuff, but a policy request statement about not increasing taxes on the middle class, they all voted ``no.'' So we believe we have to reduce our deficits in a smart and vigorous but also balanced way, asking for shared responsibility going forward, not violating our commitments to seniors by reopening the doughnut hole, not by shredding Medicaid, which they cut by over $810 billion, and which would be one-third less in 2023 than it would otherwise be.

    And, by the way, Mr. Chairman, I just want to remind people that two- thirds of Medicaid spending goes to seniors and individuals with disabilities.

    So it's not a question of whether we reduce our long-term deficits, it's how we do it, and we do it in a balanced way. If this was just a race to be the first to balance, then you should support not the chairman's budget. Support the Republican Study Group, that other budget. But if your priority is to grow jobs and the economy, then you should support the Democratic alternative budget.

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