Feb 03, 2012
By Frank Scaturro
About two weeks ago you heard the President’s vision for the next year. His address identified job creation and debt reduction as critical goals we all share. In fact, he has identified those objectives for three straight years. It would be encouraging to know that our government is actually focused on those goals. Unfortunately, the reality we face is different from the words we hear.
The last several years have given us a financial crisis that has been followed by the longest period of economic hardship since the Great Depression. More and more people remain jobless because potential job creators have lost their confidence in the economy. It should be no surprise that they have lost that confidence. Under the threat of higher taxes, they do not know how much of their own money the government will let them keep. In an avalanche of regulatory mandates, they cannot predict the thousands of rules that have not yet been written by bureaucrats who have never been elected. And as government continues to print money with reckless abandon, those who wish to invest in our future do not know the value of the dollar. Our national debt now exceeds $15 trillion. It is equal to the size of our entire economy. Our government is limiting freedom and opportunity, and those who start out with the least opportunity are those who are hurt the most.
On the campaign trail in 2008, the President said that the worst thing to do during such times would be to raise taxes, but that is precisely what he and our representative in Congress, Carolyn McCarthy, have repeatedly tried to do. Not long before, they stood firmly against reforming the policies that did so much to cause the mortgage crisis that hurt us all. The 2009 stimulus bill was pushed by the administration with the promise that it would create jobs, yet unemployment then rose to over 10 percent. And it is mystifying that we are now told “no bailouts” by those who pushed through the Dodd Frank bill, which effectively institutionalized bailouts. When government uses its power wisely, it can create the conditions that encourage job creation and prosperity, but that did not occur here. Much of the over $1 trillion spent on bailouts and stimulus went to politically favored recipients while leaving the rest of us with an even larger debt than we began with. We certainly will not reduce our debt by creating more debt, and when the government prints more money, it imposes a hidden tax on all of us. If we want to get our fiscal house in order, it is well past time to get serious. No more budget gimmicks. No more excuses.
We need real, fundamental change. That means not just lowering taxes, but replacing a convoluted tax code that has been a testament to the influence of special interests. The President would make the tax code even more confusing. Here’s how government can be truly fair: cut loopholes and adopt a simpler and flatter system for all. And change means not just lowering spending, but reforming a broken spending process from top to bottom, with caps on spending and debt so that we don’t follow the example of Europe with a debt larger than our economy.
Rather than address any of these problems, this administration, aided by Rep. McCarthy, have made matters worse by pushing through a new health care entitlement when we could least afford it. And failure to address our debt crisis does not only mortgage our children’s future, it hurts our parents as their medical needs increase; and even more, it cripples the entire government’s ability to fulfill those other goals we all share regardless of our political leanings, from education to the environment to national defense.
We are already witnessing this in the proposed cuts to military spending. Wasteful spending by the military certainly should be cut, but it is wrong to go so far as to weaken our ability to keep our nation safe and protect our interests abroad. The administration’s refusal to approve the Keystone pipeline marks yet another blow to energy independence and common sense that would have created thousands of jobs on an environmentally safe project and would have allowed us to import oil from Canada instead of from less friendly countries like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. As a foreign policy matter, this is yet another example of how our government has alienated some of our most important allies without standing up effectively to the world’s most dangerous regimes.
This is no time to sit back and leave our country to leaders who believe they are presiding over America’s decline. We believe this country’s best days are ahead of us. But those days won’t come unless we expand freedom and opportunity rather than limit them. If others won’t do it, we will. Getting there is not about having you believe more in government. It’s a matter of government believing in you.
Frank Scaturro is a former Counsel for the Constitution on the Senate Judiciary Committee and Republican candidate for the United States House of Representatives in New York’s 4th Congressional District.
Filed Under: Frank Scaturro
About the Author: