Economy & Budget

Taxing the middle-class to pay for health care (Rep. Michele Bachmann)

One of the more notable promises from the campaign trail by President Obama back in 2008 was his promise not to raise taxes by one single dime on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. Cap-and-trade and expiring tax cuts aside, it's taken only six months for the President to publicly consider reneging on his campaign pledge.

As the Wall Street Journal points out:

"Asked about raising taxes on the middle class on Sunday on CBS’s 'Face the Nation,' White House economist Larry Summers wouldn’t repeat Mr. Obama’s pre-election promise. 'It is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out no matter what,' Mr. Summers said—except, apparently, when his boss is running for office. Meanwhile, on ABC’s 'This Week,' Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also slid around Mr. Obama’s vow and said, 'We have to bring these deficits down very dramatically. And that’s going to require some very hard choices.'

"These aren’t even nondenial denials. The Obama advisers are laying the groundwork for taxing the middle class while claiming the deficit made them do it."


Consumer bankruptcy filings reach highest monthly total since 2005 bankruptcy law overhaul

After a period of relatively low bankruptcy filings during 2006-07, U.S. consumer bankruptcies rose sharply in 2008 and continue to climb in 2009. Consumer filings reached 126,434 in July, the highest monthly total since the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) was implemented in October 2005, and pushed the consumer total for the first seven months of 2009 past 800,000 filings.

ABI Executive Director Sam Gerdano expects the consumer filing total to top 1.4 million in 2009, reflecting the sustained and growing financial stress on U.S. households. "Rising unemployment on top of high pre-existing debt burdens is a formula for higher bankruptcies through the end of this year," he said.

Cash for clunkers a tremendous victory for the American economy (Rep. Dale Kildee)

When we passed the cash for clunkers legislation back in June, I said that it would provide a much needed boost to our auto industry, clean up our environment, help us achieve energy independence and stimulate our economy as a whole. After just one week, this program is already proving to be a tremendous victory for the American economy, and there is no better proof of success than success.

Thousands of Americas have utilized this program to buy roughly 250,000 new, more fuel efficient vehicles and our auto manufacturers are seeing a surge in sales as a result. This unprecedented response from consumers is proof that the government can successfully stimulate the economy.


Clunkers: Still not enough answers

I’m floored at the pace with which the House of Representatives acted to dump more money into the Car Allowance Rebate System, or “cash-for-clunkers.” Before it was even clear to me what was happening with the money, the House had taken $2 billion from a program for loan guarantees to support renewable energy.

Even stranger is how quiet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been on the performance of the program. Dealers and auto manufacturers are waving estimates of transactions completed and fuel economy gains made through the program, but NHTSA has been on the sidelines, failing to use its data on the completed transactions to confirm or deny dealer claims. If the program were the roaring success that everyone has been claiming, wouldn’t NHTSA be the first in line to take the credit?

A path back to fiscal responsibility (Rep. John Adler)

During these uncertain economic times, middle class families and small businesses are learning to live with less money in their pockets and less security in their investments. They are changing their spending habits and balancing their budgets. As Americans take important steps to better the lives of their families and communities, they expect Congress to do the same.

That is why, I voted in favor of HR 2920, the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009. The bill will help eliminate wasteful government spending, and start putting the federal government back on a path toward fiscal responsibility and long-term sustainability. Congress needs to lead by example, and let the American people know that the federal government is looking out for their future.


Put an end to tourism blacklisting (Sen. Bill Nelson)

Tourism is a vital part of my state’s economy, and I know that many Florida cities offer some of the finest, most competitive prices on hotels and conference facilities. That’s why I was stunned when I found out some federal agencies might be blacklisting Florida cities for travel and conferences because of their proximity to vacation destinations.

Talk about a double-whammy in tough economic times that have seen tourism and business travel dropping like a rock.

Minimum wage increase hinders our economic recovery (Rep. Pete Olson)

Today, another burden is being placed on America’s small businesses. Effective on this date is the third installment of the increase of the minimum wage that was passed in 2007. Once again, our federal government has provided not a help, but a hindrance to our economic recovery.

When the three phase minimum wage increase was initially signed into law in May 2007, the unemployment rate was 4.5% and when the first phase went into place the unemployment rate was 4.6%. Today it stands at 9.5%. At a time of record deficits, uncertainty of increased taxes and looming prospect of government takeover of the healthcare system, and a national energy tax, small businesses simply cannot afford this final wage increase.


PAYGO will force Congress to be good stewards of taxpayer money (Rep. Lincoln Davis)

This week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2920, the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009. The bill will hold the Congress to a simple rule: that the Congress should pay for new tax policy and entitlement spending with cuts or revenue raisers elsewhere in the budget. Essentially, we have to account for what we spend.

PAYGO rules are crucial to keeping federal spending in check, and the return to this policy is not a moment too soon in this tough economy. The Congress has not been subject to PAYGO rules since the Clinton Administration, when the practice helped move America away from budget deficits and into the successive budget surpluses the nation enjoyed at the end of President Clinton’s term.


PAYGO Is the Way to Go (Rep. Michael McMahon)

This country has been navigating one of its worst economic crises and determining both rehabilitative and preventative measures to restore our economy has not always been an easy decision. One, however, has been.

PAYGO works on a simple principle – balance your budget. Most American families operate under this principle; there is no reason why Congress shouldn’t.


House-passed "PAYGO" bill won't work (Rep. Virginia Foxx)

Congress has cooked up another a batch of fake fiscal responsibility that looks good but is really a recipe for more record deficits.

Don’t take my word for it.  The independent experts at the Congressional Budget Office found that H.R. 2920 could actually produce larger federal deficits.  In its report on the bill CBO writes that “the legislation’s enactment could lead to larger future deficits.”