Congress must pass the penny plan

As Congress deals with yet another manufactured year end spending “crisis” that will result in more spending of money our country does not have, a new poll highlights a potential effective solution to the national spending problem that enjoys shockingly high levels of public support across all party lines. That solution is known as the penny plan, which simply requires the federal government to reduce the budget by one penny for every dollar it spends annually over a period of five years.

The new poll, commissioned by Club for Growth, found support for the penny plan runs wide as 76 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of Independents, and 63 percent of Democrats surveyed said they back it. Why not? The penny plan is not some radical policy. It simply requires a spending cut of 1 percent in the next year. The penny plan is not new. Neither is its strong level of support across party lines. This new poll tracks what Tea Party Patriots found three years ago. In that survey, 82 percent said they would support reducing spending “by just one penny out of every dollar spent” over the next five years to balance the budget.

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Why does the penny plan have such strong support? Because Americans have come to realize that the deficit problem in Washington is caused by spending too much rather than taxing too little. Numbers from the Treasury Department show that, despite the predictions made by leftists who opposed the tax cuts, they have resulted in increased inflows to the federal government. The latest monthly statement from the Treasury Department showed record total tax revenues of more than $252 billion, up more than $11 billion from this time last year. It represents the most money ever collected by the Treasury Department in the month of October. Yet the federal deficit ballooned to more than $100 billion last month because we ended up spending more than $353 billion.

Clearly, the deficit comes from the spending problem. We do not run a deficit because we tax too little. We run a deficit because we spend too much. It is going to get worse if we fail to change the track we are on. The data projections by the Congressional Budget Office for the next 10 years show that the federal spending is estimated to grow at an average annual rate of 5.5 percent and is expected to reach $7 trillion by 2028.

Is a rather remarkable and alarming finding that federal government spending is projected to grow at 5.5 percent every year for the next decade, despite the fact that inflation over the last decade has averaged only 1.7 percent. President TrumpDonald John TrumpActivists highlight Trump ties to foreign autocrats in hotel light display Jose Canseco pitches Trump for chief of staff: ‘Worried about you looking more like a Twinkie everyday’ Dershowitz: Mueller's report will contain 'sins' but no 'impeachable offense' MORE has recently indicated he was climbing aboard the bandwagon to tackle the spending problem, ordering his agency heads to scour their budgets to find 5 percent reductions.

Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress for few more weeks, should act during this lame duck session. As the new poll shows, the public will be on their side. Draw a bright line and make the Democrats choose to stand with the people and vote to reduce spending or stand with the special interests and continue to spend money our country does not have. The lines could not be clearer. Will Republicans stand firm?

Jenny Beth Martin is chairwoman of the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund.