Cuts, Not Tax Hikes Can Ease Debt Crisis: Mitch
By US Senator Mitch McConnell
WASHINGTON DC - "Now, I know that solving the debt challenge won’t be easy. Putting our country on a sustainable fiscal and economic path is going to require both parties committing to serious spending reforms. But this is a challenge we must overcome. By doing the hard work today, we can avoid a European-style catastrophe tomorrow. By reforming the functions of government that no longer make sense in 2013, we can do more than just control spending – we can encourage private-sector growth and job creation and finally get the economy back on its feet. And by ridding ourselves of this massive burden of debt, we can remove one of the greatest obstacles to recovery."
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday regarding the need for serious spending cuts and government reforms to solve our nation’s debt crisis:
“A few weeks ago, President Obama reportedly said that America doesn’t have a spending problem. Well, he’s wrong. This is completely at odds with what independent experts tell us. And last week, I brought this chart behind me to the floor to illustrate the point.
“As everyone knows, we’re already running trillion dollar deficits. What this chart shows is that the gap between government spending and revenue just keeps getting wider and wider in the years ahead.
“As you can see, it rises like a red mountain over a relatively flat plain of green.
“Now, I know some of my Democrat colleagues will hear this and say, ‘a-ha, it’s a revenue problem.’ Well, they’re wrong too: because the chart actually factors in the additional tax increases the President asked for, and still the revenue line barely budges.
“More to the point, tax revenue as a share of GDP is today about the same as it’s been over the past four decades.
“Spending, on the other hand, averaged just 18.5 percent over that same period, and today it stands at about 23 percent – one of the highest spending levels since World War II. And it’s about to get much worse, growing to nearly 40 percent of GDP in just a few decades.
“Clearly, we need to address spending. There’s simply no other way to solve the problem.
“A significant portion of the dramatic spending increase to come is the result of tens of millions of Baby Boomers reaching retirement age. Since we know that fact ahead of time, we’re in a position to do something about it – and we should.
“But that’s only one part of the problem.
“We also need to shine a light into every corner of the budget, especially the dark corners that often evade real scrutiny. Programs that don’t work should be scrapped; and when considering those that do, we still need to ask the question: ‘Can it be done better? Faster? More efficiently?’
“And we need to root out waste, which will serve as the first real test of Democrats’ seriousness in this debate.
“I mean, why is the federal government funding Chinese studies on pig manure, and research into the smoking habits of Jordanian college students, and reality TV shows in India?
“Are Democrats prepared to cut this kind of waste?
“Because if they’re not – if they demand a 1:1 ratio between tax increases and pig manure cuts – then there’s really no hope of ever putting our country back on a path to prosperity.
“The Senate will soon begin consideration of H.R. 325. If it passes, we’ll have a few more months to come up with the kind of spending reforms necessary to secure a longer extension of the debt ceiling. That extra time will give us a chance to break the Democrats’ other bad habit of leaving everything until the last minute – but we can only do it if we get to work now and return to regular order.
“Remember, regular order is how the Senate is supposed to function. Committees are supposed to be allowed to evaluate legislation, amendments are supposed to be considered, and the public is supposed to have a chance to scrutinize the proposals before us.
“Now, I know that solving the debt challenge won’t be easy. Putting our country on a sustainable fiscal and economic path is going to require both parties committing to serious spending reforms. But this is a challenge we must overcome.
“By doing the hard work today, we can avoid a European-style catastrophe tomorrow. By reforming the functions of government that no longer make sense in 2013, we can do more than just control spending – we can encourage private-sector growth and job creation and finally get the economy back on its feet. And by ridding ourselves of this massive burden of debt, we can remove one of the greatest obstacles to recovery.
“As I said yesterday, this is ultimately a conversation about growth and opportunity – not austerity. And it’s one that Republicans are eager to have.
“For those who want to pretend that our country does not have a spending problem, now is the time to face reality.
“We can take on this challenge together if both sides are ready to do the necessary work to reform spending. But we have to get started today. Not next week. Not in April. Today.”