Economy & Budget

Tax Relief Is Just What The Doctor Ordered (Rep. Ander Crenshaw)

While still the strongest and most prosperous in the world, today our nation finds itself in the midst of a time of economic uncertainty and with a host of financial ailments.

Everyone agrees that something needs to be done, but the approaches to solving these challenges couldn’t be more different.  While many are talking about how the federal government should spend a historic amount of taxpayer money, I believe that the taxpayers themselves are the best stewards of their money, not Washington.  If left with more of their hard-earned money in their wallets, American families and small businesses can and will stimulate the economy far better than politicians in Washington.

Time Could Be Issue for Geithner Confirmation

Treasury Secretary nominee, Timothy Geithner, faces pointed questions from Sen. Bunning (R-Ky.) in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee. While Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mon.) is confident that Geithner will be confirmed, Republicans on the committee express their desire for more time to investigate Geithner's tax issue.


Firm Tax Policy Rather than Bailouts Will Restore Economy (Rep. Neugebauer)

I believe we can better stimulate the economy through tax relief, which is why I introduced the Economic Growth Through Tax Stimulus Act. This legislation will make the 2001 and 2003 tax relief permanent, reduce marginal individual income tax rates by 5 percentage points for the next five years and reduce the top business and individual income tax rate to 25 percent for the next 5 years. This type of stimulus policy will translate into half a million more jobs in 2009, add an additional $130 billion in GDP and increase the economic growth rate.

Bailouts reward unsuccessful companies; reducing taxes helps successful employers, both small and large, retain more capital so they can be more productive, hire more workers and improve wages. Across-the-board tax relief means the government is not picking winners and losers. As a former business owner, I know that reducing business taxes will lead to job growth and reduce the annual tax burden on every household.

THE BIG QUESTION, Jan. 13: The Bailout Fund

The Big Question is a feature where influential lawmakers, pundits and interest group leaders give their answers to a question that’s driving discussion in news circles around the country.

Today’s Big Question is:
Was President-elect Obama right to ask President Bush to release the remaining $350 billion in bailout money for Wall Street?

See responses below from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), ACORN Chief Organizer Bertha Lewis, Ron Bonjean and Hudson Institute President Dr. Herb London.

See the last Big Question here.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said:
No. For one thing, we have not even held a single hearing on the merits or necessity of releasing this second tranche. The Financial Services Committee is proceeding as if the decision has been made to release the second $350 billion without holding any substantial debate on whether or not such a release is the appropriate step for stabilizing our financial markets and getting the markets moving again. Read the full response

Bertha Lewis, chief organizer, ACORN said:
YES, because the Obama Administration has committed to increased transparency, real limits on executive compensation, and actually using some of this money to help struggling homeowners in addition to financial companies. Read the full response

Ron Bonjean, president, The Bonjean Company said:
It’s an interesting political dynamic. The Obama administration can legitimately show concern about aiding the economy, but it would really like to keep their hands clean from handling any of the bailout money. Read the full response

Dr. Herb London, president, Hudson Institute said:
It is clear that the bailout for the banking industry has not had the desired effect. Another $350 billion will not restore confidence, which as I see it, is the critical issue facing the financial community. It is one thing to attempt to restore liquidity, quite another matter to restore trust.

Legislative Formulas? (Rep. John Campbell)

In today’s edition of Roll Call, there is a rather telling article regarding earmarks in the Economic Stimulus Package. The article, titled “Artfully Redefining Earmarks,” clearly points out that some members clearly don’t get it, including those close to Speaker Pelosi. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) is quoted in the article saying: “I know the politics of all this. I just think they’re wrong about it…I love earmarks.”

It should be noted that President-Elect Obama has clearly stated that any stimulus must be earmark free. Therefore senior Democratic Members of the House are crafting “Legislative formulas …to ensure that their districts share in the wealth…,” in clear defiance of the standard bearer of their party.

It is Clyburn’s intent to have these formulas act as trade-offs for members, particularly freshmen, who need political cover in order to support a stimulus package.

As I have said time and time again, Members of Congress are not ATM machines. Fiscal stimulus goes beyond ideological boundaries; and earmarks, or legislative formulas for that matter, have no place in legislation designed at tackling our nation’s economic woes.

Cross posted at

ACORN Helps Lead Action to Pass a Stimulus Package

For three weeks now ACORN members have been aggressively pursuing a campaign to pass a bold, progressive Economic Recovery package in the new Congress. Working closely with allies like US Action, AFSCME, and the larger Americans United for Change coalition, ACORN members are taking a major role in building the coalition to pass this recovery package, and to create the context for it to be both stronger and more directly responsive to the situation facing working families across this country.

Because of reality facing America’s low- and moderate-income communities, ACORN members and their neighborhoods function as the canaries in our nation’s economic coalmine. In many cases, our members are experiencing severe economic dislocation, but, despite their personal hardship, they are organizing for a progressive response to the worsening economic situation facing the entire United States.

Renew the Commitment to America's Infrastructure

With one stroke, a renewed federal commitment to funding the rebuilding America’s infrastructure could help economically and environmentally.  Funding could get the economy moving and help reduce carbon emissions. For example, about 35,000 jobs are created for every $1 billion invested in infrastructure.  And how many emissions could be avoided by not burning the 5.7 billion gallons annually wasted in traffic jams, not to mention energy savings?

But what about the quality of the projects?  Funded infrastructure projects must provide for the greater common good.  Congress cannot approve earmarks or neighborhood special interest projects – swimming pools and tennis courts come to mind.  Projects that benefit all Americans include critical commerce corridors, upgrades to existing highways, ports and water systems.

Up to 3,000 of these much needed projects could start within 60-90 days of funding, and funding is needed immediately.  The U.S. needs to invest upwards of $340 billion in transportation projects, but it only invests $85 billion now.  This shortfall has cost us dearly in global competitiveness and will cost the country more in the future.  We must meet the funding challenge for our infrastructure needs.

Washington will consider major bills in 2009 for reauthorization of airport, highway/transit and water infrastructure (the annual shortfall in funding water infrastructure is “only” $23 billion).  Congress should pass a stimulus package quickly that will provide needed jobs and initiate desperately needed infrastructure upgrades.

The U.S. has an infrastructure crisis.  The time for action by the Congress and the new Administration is now.

Mac's Back to Battle Earmarks

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) join together once again, this time to end earmarks with their Fiscal Discipline, Earmark Reform, and Accountability Act of 2009.