Weekly Columns

We Cannot Continue to Tax, Borrow & Spend Our Way to Prosperity

f t # e
Washington, September 22, 2011 | comments

This week the president released his deficit reduction plan. While I agree that we must cut spending and live within our means, the president and I have very different ideas on how we go about solving the problem.  The president’s idea of strengthening the economy includes more spending and higher taxes.  I believe we can create jobs by creating an environment in which businesses can flourish: with less regulation, low taxes, and access to capital.

I am concerned that the president’s deficit reduction plan cuts more needed funding out of our health care system and Medicare on top of the $500 billion he cut out of Medicare to create a new entitlement program – the Affordable Care Act.  The cuts proposed by President Obama will only worsen the physician shortage problem we are facing in this country. For example, his plan reduces funding for graduate medical education programs.  We must ensure our physicians have the training they need to care for patients.

Even more concerning, the president is trying to strengthen the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) – a board charged with cutting Medicare dollars, ultimately rationing care to our seniors. The Affordable Care Act allows the IPAB to begin its cuts in 2015, but Obama’s latest deficit reduction proposal would allow the IPAB to start its work earlier.  Fortunately, we are building support to end this board with over 200 Democrats and Republicans cosponsoring my legislation to repeal the IPAB.

As a veteran and a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am committed to ensuring our service members receive the best care. They gave up so much to serve this nation, and this nation’s leadership should be measured by how we honor and care for our veterans. I am disappointed the president is seeking to overhaul retirement benefits for our veterans.  While I believe everything should be on the table when it comes to spending cuts, I do not believe we should take retirement benefits away from our veterans.

Furthermore, I adamantly disagree with the president’s proposal to increase taxes by $1.6 trillion.  Washington has a spending problem, not a taxing problem. These new taxes hit the heart of our nation’s job creators – a dangerous thing to do in times of economic woe.

Unfortunately, the president’s proposals are more of the same – failed policies that do nothing to strengthen our economy, but actually have the opposite effect. Washington cannot keep doing more of the same – trying to tax, borrow and spend our way to prosperity. I still believe there are responsible ways to promote job growth and stimulate the economy, but we cannot get there by penalizing our veterans and implementing new taxes on the American people.

f t # e