President Obama told Congress today that it’s time to “Pull off the band aid. Eat our peas.” In other words, we’ve got to come to an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, not because we’ll like it, but because it’s good for us.
What Obama didn’t say that he wants to make removing the band aid more painful and make those peas taste even worse. Namely, he wants to raise taxes. Of course our President won’t tell you that. He’ll call it “eliminating spending in the tax code” or removing an “unjust loophole” or “getting rid of tax breaks for (insert liberal bogeyman here),” anything to make tax hikes sound more palatable. No matter what you call them, raising taxes is not the solution to a problem that exists solely on the spending side of the ledger.
Fortunately, House Speaker John Boehner stood up today and forcefully argued just that. “The American people understand that tax hikes destroy jobs. The last thing we should be doing right now, at a time of 9.2 percent unemployment is enacting more government policies that will destroy jobs,” said Speaker Boehner. “The disagreement with the President is not about closing loopholes, none of us are fond of loopholes, the disagreement is over raising taxes on the very people we’re asking to create jobs in our country.”
In 2009 President Obama agreed with Boehner’s assessment that taxing job creators is a bad idea. “The last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession because that would just suck up – take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole,” Obama told NBC’s Chuck Todd. Little has changed since that statement. Our economy is still in the dumps, job growth remains persistently low, and unemployment continues to grow worse. If there was no economic case to raise taxes in 2009, surely there isn’t one today.
Instead of tax hikes Speaker Boehner laid out the true roadmap toward fiscal sustainability – Cut, Cap and Balance.
“[T]he American people will not accept, and the House cannot pass a bill that raises taxes on job creators. The House can only pass a bill that includes spending cuts larger than the hike in the limit as well as future limits on spending. We feel we should enact a balanced budget amendment to keep the federal government from spending us into the same situation again. I think we need spending caps to ensure that progress we make is not undone in the future.”
As part of the Cut, Cap and Balance coalition, NTU applauds Speaker Boehner for laying out the comprehensive approach needed to not only reduce deficits this year, but prevent them from recurring in the future. It is only through our plan of cutting spending in the short-term, enacting statutory spending caps to reduce spending in the medium-term, and passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution to protect taxpayers in the long-term, that Congress can ensure we aren’t right back in the same situation, debating an increase to the debt limit, in a few short years.
Without these reforms, the government will continue to grow, requiring ever more taxpayer resources to feed its voracious appetite. The government should be eating its peas, but only as part of a program that puts it on a diet.