Weekly Columns

Spending Cuts & Reducing the Deficit are Necessary for Economic Growth

f t # e
Washington, November 16, 2011 | comments

As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction inches closer to its November 23 deadline for producing a bill that saves at least $1.2 trillion, I hope to see reforms that will help restore economic growth, create jobs and put us on a path to a balanced budget. We need to stop the damage this administration has done by proposing a path forward that provides certainty for hardworking taxpayers and small businesses.

Each passing day that our national deficit grows is a threat to the long term security of this nation. How did we get here?  The government is in this position today as a result of living way beyond its means and failing to enact reforms to spur economic growth. We spent and spent, and then when faced with historic deficits as far as the eye could see, the government spent more, and now the bills are due.

To get us out of this fiscal crisis, Congress first needs to pass a balanced budget amendment. This is not a simple task, but it is an important goal we must work toward if we are going to grow the economy.  This week Congress will vote on, and I will support, H. J. Res 2, which would mandate future Congresses to balance the budget, unless three-fifths of the House and the Senate vote otherwise, or in the case of wars or military conflict.  In my judgment, a balanced budget amendment is the single most important reform for reining in out-of-control Washington bureaucrats.

Balancing the federal budget will require us to reduce spending. Some Democrats are arguing for taking more of your money to close the deficit.  The reality, however, is tax increases won’t shrink the deficit because anytime we raise taxes, the government always finds a way to spend even more money. 

It is clear that the American people will no longer accept empty promises, and they demand honest leadership that stands for America’s core principles found in the U.S. Constitution. I have urged the committee to adhere to these principles when submitting their proposal to Congress and the American people.

In particular, I don’t think we should raise taxes when the economy is weak. I support simplifying our tax code and closing loopholes that amount to spending in the tax code, but I do not think this government has a taxing problem – it has a spending problem. I joined a number of conservative members in writing the committee to ask that it not raise taxes and try to achieve tax reform that will permanently lower rates on individuals and spur economic growth.

The reality is that mandatory programs in our budget – which account for two-thirds of the budget – are in need of reforms that will slow their growth.  If we don’t find savings from these programs, we will never get a hold of runaway federal spending.

It is my hope that we will be able to reduce our deficit and make changes to federal programs in a bipartisan way. While spending cuts and reducing the deficit are necessary for economic growth, it is equally important that we begin restoring the American people’s confidence that its government can and will do the right thing and address America’s greatest challenge.

As always, I will continue fighting for East Tennessee values and I will continue communicating a common sense approach to this Congress to get our nation back on track.
f t # e