Tax Cuts

Last night the House voted on the tax cut compromise negotiated by the President and Republican leadership. I voted NO. This bill provides too many unnecessary giveaways to the wealthy while failing to acknowledge the reality of our staggering federal deficit and I just could not support it. The proposal is estimated to cost the treasury $374 billion in Fiscal Year 2011 and more than $857 billion over the next ten years. And let's be honest, when the time comes to renew some of these cuts, we will renew them. If Congress and the Administration cannot muster the will to end tax cuts for the wealthy this year, how will we manage it in two years?

This bill does include some important provisions that I support, such as making sure taxes don't increase for the middle class and extending the unemployment safety net. But in the final analysis, there are just too many provisions that I believe are downright irresponsible, and that is why I voted no. I simply cannot accept an across the board extension for the wealthy few, and I do not support some of the costly and unnecessary extras, such as the estate tax changes. I've been clear that I don't believe the President negotiated the best possible compromise. But it doesn't matter how we got here anymore. What matters is how this bill will impact our country.

Our deficit is already huge and this lost revenue must be accounted for somehow. There are only two ways to do that — cut spending or raise revenue. The only way to raise revenue other than taxes is to borrow it. So we will have to borrow the money, increasing the national debt burden. We already owe China more than a trillion dollars for all the borrowing our government has done to date. I will not vote to add to that burden for the sake of giving tax cuts to the wealthiest among us.

I do not believe that we will ever allow these tax cuts to fade away — nor will we ever raise taxes enough to sustain current demand. So at some point — and I think it will be soon — we will be forced to DRASTICALLY reduce spending, and I do not believe that cutting every penny of waste, fraud and abuse will come close to balancing our budget. We will be forced to cut the meat out of many important programs.

I respect those who want to cut some discretionary social spending. I just don't agree that every program needs to be slashed. I think federal spending is necessary to provide for the common defense but I also think federal spending is necessary and appropriate to support Social Security, senior housing, education, police and fire protection, aid to cities and states and other worthwhile programs. Of course we can and should cut programs that don't work — but that will not save enough. I believe many programs will be cut quickly next year. Congress will tackle the easy items that most of us can agree on, such as reducing our Congressional office budgets. But eventually we will finish with the easy votes and get to the harder ones. What will Congress do about Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, senior housing, education, and other valuable programs? I think Congress will cut them. That's another reason why I cannot support tax cuts for wealthy Americans who don't need them.

These tax cuts have been in place since 2001, and there is no indication that they have helped the economy. They did not prevent the economic meltdown and did not prevent massive job loss. Why does anyone think these cuts will encourage any person or any business to take action they are not already planning to take? Sure, some jobs will be created over the next few months — but they would have been created without these tax cuts. We should not be mortgaging our children's future and undermining Social Security unless we can be fairly certain that these actions will change the current problems — and I do not believe that is the case.

Last night's vote is an indication of the direction we want America to go. Are we moving toward drastic cuts in every major government program, or will we continue the philosophy that grew this country over the last two generations? I will stick with the philosophy that has proven to work since the New Deal — the approach that made us the greatest nation in the world. I voted for responsibility over expediency. I voted NO. H.R. 4853 passed and the entire vote is recorded below: