President Obama toldCongress today that it’s time to “Pull off the band aid. Eat our peas.” Inother words, we’ve got to come to an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, notbecause we’ll like it, but because it’s good for us.
What Obamadidn’t say that he wants to make removing the band aid more painful and makethose peas taste even worse. Namely, he wants to raise taxes. Of course ourPresident won’t tell you that. He’ll call it “eliminating spending in the taxcode” or removing an “unjust loophole” or “getting rid of tax breaks for(insert liberal bogeyman here),” anything to make tax hikes sound morepalatable. No matter what you call them, raising taxes is not the solution to aproblem that exists solely on the spending side of the ledger.
Fortunately,House Speaker John Boehner stood up today and forcefully argued just that. “TheAmerican people understand that tax hikes destroy jobs. The last thing weshould be doing right now, at a time of 9.2 percent unemployment is enactingmore government policies that will destroy jobs,” said Speaker Boehner. “Thedisagreement with the President is not about closing loopholes, none of us arefond of loopholes, the disagreement is over raising taxes on the very people we’reasking to create jobs in our country.”
In 2009President Obama agreed with Boehner’s assessment that taxing job creators is abad idea. “The last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of arecession because that would just suck up – take more demand out of the economyand put businesses in a further hole,” Obama toldNBC’s Chuck Todd. Little has changed since that statement. Our economy is stillin the dumps, job growth remains persistently low, and unemployment continuesto grow worse. If there was no economic case to raise taxes in 2009, surelythere isn’t one today.
Instead oftax hikes Speaker Boehner laid out the true roadmap toward fiscalsustainability – Cut, Cap and Balance.
“[T]he American people will not accept, and the House cannotpass a bill that raises taxes on job creators. The House can only pass a bill that includes spending cuts larger than thehike in the limit as well as future limits on spending. We feel we should enacta balanced budget amendment to keep the federal government from spending usinto the same situation again. I think we need spending caps to ensure thatprogress we make is not undone in the future.”
As part ofthe Cut, Cap and Balance coalition, NTU applauds Speaker Boehner for laying outthe comprehensive approach needed to not only reduce deficits this year, butprevent them from recurring in the future. It is only through our plan ofcutting spending in the short-term, enacting statutory spending caps to reducespending in the medium-term, and passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to theConstitution to protect taxpayers in the long-term, that Congress can ensure wearen’t right back in the same situation, debating an increase to the debtlimit, in a few short years.
Without these reforms, the governmentwill continue to grow, requiring ever more taxpayer resources to feed itsvoracious appetite. The government should be eating its peas, but only as partof a program that puts it on a diet.