April 15 marked Tax Day, a painful reminder of just how much money the government takes from our paychecks every year. As Kentuckians filed their taxes, sending their hard-earned dollars to the federal treasury, many question what Congress is doing with their money.
Over the last two years, Congress has given Americans a series of bailouts, a failed stimulus package and a government takeover of healthcare, costing roughly $1 trillion each.
From the bailouts of Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the creation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the federal government injected more than 1 trillion taxpayer dollars into the market to bail out our financial institutions. Each time, taxpayers foot the bill for these giveaway packages. Worse, to the extent that some TARP funds have been repaid to the U.S. Treasury, the Obama Administration has chosen not to apply those repayments to reducing our deficit as is required by law, but instead is holding them in reserve for a slush fund to pay for their other priorities.
The so-called ‘stimulus’ bill, enacted last February, is full of bailouts for state budgets, growth in government instead of the private sector and pet spending projects that did virtually nothing to create jobs, but left Americans with little confidence in Washington’s ability to restore our economy.
Every dollar spent on this misguided package had to be borrowed first. Democrats in Congress assured Americans the entire package would be “timely, targeted and temporary.” Unfortunately, one year later, it is a standard to which this package clearly fails to live up to.
Last, but not least, in the trillion dollar category is the recent enactment of a government takeover of health care, which was forced through by Speaker Pelosi using budget gimmicks and backroom deals. This is a $1.2 trillion health care “reform” plan that will raise taxes by $589 billion, cut Medicare by $505 billion, increase the cost of health care and lead to nearly 5 million lost jobs. This troubling law will strip individuals and families of flexibility when choosing a health plan that fits their needs, lead to more expensive insurance premiums, impose government mandates on individuals and ultimately, I believe, lead to the rationing of care.
With all of that spending, more than 225,000 Kentuckians and 15 million Americans are still out of work. This is a testament to the failure of the Democrat’s approach that consistently calls for more borrowing, more spending and more taxes. Democrats in Congress have raised taxes on working families and small businesses to the tune of $670.3 billion in just fifteen months.
While the vast majority of Americans are most concerned with the economy and job creation, Democrats have instead chosen to pursue policies that create further instability in the marketplace and reduce the economy’s ability to expand. Instead of focusing on the economy and job creation, the agenda in Congress has left Americans with a great deal of uncertainty about what their government will do next.
According to President Obama’s budget, the federal government will collect about $2.17 trillion in revenue this year. His budget calls for spending $3.7 trillion. Democrats in Congress have an unsettling message for Americans who feel their tax dollars are being wasted: Send more money.
Americans deserve better leadership out of this Congress and this President. They expect our focus and priorities to be on setting policies that create new and better jobs. Businesses cannot thrive in an economy falsely buoyed by temporary stimulus jobs and taxpayer-funded bailouts.
In order to create jobs, we must empower the people. We must craft legislation that will give Americans the flexibility they need to grow their businesses. Our economic recovery in Kentucky and across the country will depend on commonsense job creation policies and providing long-term tax relief for Americans.
Congressman Geoff Davis