By Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) - 02/14/12 11:17 PM EST
The only honest conclusion one can draw from President Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget is that this administration refuses to recognize the seriousness of America’s fiscal crisis and is recklessly unwilling to address the challenges we face.
There’s no other explanation, short of sheer political calculation, for proposing a budget that simply increases spending, taxing and borrowing. The White House claims $4 trillion in deficit reduction over a 10-year period without any feasible path to paying off the debt over time. This supposed $4 trillion does not even cover the debt accumulated on the president’s own watch! The president proposes $1.9 trillion in new taxes on hardworking taxpayers and small-business owners. Those are the job creators across this country, who are already trying to figure out how to weather the discomfort and financial jeopardy posed by the president’s other major domestic pursuits, such as his healthcare law and onerous regulations.
While the president’s preference for higher taxes on small businesses is destructive to the nation’s economy, it is his reasoning behind them that is destructive to the nation’s character. The White House does not have a tax plan — it has a campaign strategy to divide Americans. Its goal is not to make the tax code efficient and competitive for all Americans — it is focused on making it more distorted, less efficient and less pro-growth for the purposes of politics.
The tax-reform debate should focus on the tax code and its effect on growth and opportunity. Republicans are fighting for fundamental tax reform to help make our nation competitive and our economy grow. Our proposals would simplify our tax structure, eliminate loopholes and distortions in the code and broaden the base; bring our corporate tax rate down to a level competitive with other nations; and, above all, make it easier for folks to invest and save for the future. All of this would create a climate for job growth.
Balancing our budget will require far-stronger economic growth and greater private investment than we have seen under this administration’s policies. The president’s budget undermines growth by pulling more money away from American small businesses and families, while endorsing a more intrusive government than the one we currently cannot afford.
Then there is Obama’s predictable and shameful approach to the future of Medicare.
This administration proudly celebrates a healthcare law that raids Medicare by more than $500 billion and empowers a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats to decide what to pay doctors to provide for seniors. That is the current law. Amazingly, the White House has no plan to ensure the Medicare program will actually exist in the future. The president’s defense of the status quo is unacceptable.
Republicans propose that we improve and strengthen Medicare so current and future seniors have access to quality healthcare. Our plan is an honest approach. We make sure that those on Medicare and those near retirement see no changes. For future generations, we save and improve the program so it is sustainable and provides a guarantee of coverage with greater personalized choices.
Democrats who demagogue this issue are not protecting seniors. They are protecting a status quo in which Medicare grows less and less viable, resulting in an erosion of the guarantee to seniors.
After deficits of more than $1 trillion in every single year of his presidency, Obama refuses to show the leadership and courage to put forth a serious plan that would stop our nation from going down a path to further debt, doubt and despair. No serious plan to protect seniors’ healthcare. No serious plan to reform our confounding tax code and build one that encourages opportunity for all Americans.
America can do better. House Republicans believe elected leaders ought to do better. Consequently, we will be offering a blueprint for how to get America’s fiscal house in order, help the economy grow jobs and protect vital programs that millions of Americans rely upon for a secure retirement. Our Path to Prosperity is the responsible road to travel.
Price is chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee and a member of the House Budget Committee.