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Budget School: The Right to Know How Washington Spends Your Money

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Location: Washington, DC


BUDGET SCHOOL: THE RIGHT TO KNOW HOW WASHINGTON SPENDS YOUR MONEY -- (House of Representatives - April 16, 2008)

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding. And I want to just thank you for all the leadership you've shown not only on this issue but that you've shown throughout your career. You fought the income tax in Tennessee. You're here fighting for lower taxes here in the U.S. Capital, and I want to thank you for all the leadership you have shown. And it's a pleasure for me to join you with this.

I thought, given the comments recently by our majority leader about this year's budget, it would be fitting to go through the budget that we're talking about.

The majority leader just said, in one of the publications printed here, that we don't need a budget conference report. Now, that's happened in the past. Under Republican leadership, when the Republicans ran the majority, there were a few times when the Republicans were unable to pass a budget. And you know what happens? No priorities are set. What happens when a budget is not passed, when a budget is not agreed to between the House and the Senate, is that only spending occurs or tax increases. And so there's no chance of fiscal discipline. There's no chance of putting us on a path to balancing the budget, to making sure we get rid of the deficit and pay down the debt. There's just spending. And 1 year into the majority, 1 year into the majority, they're now showing us that just 1 year in the majority they can't pass a budget.

They don't have a plan to get us to a balanced budget. They don't have a map for the fiscal future of our country. But they can come to the floor with spending bills. They can come to the floor to spend more money. And in fact, they do have a plan. And this budget is not necessary to raise taxes.

So I would like to talk about exactly what it is that they have been proposing, what it is our partners on the other side of the aisle have proposed. And if you take a look at what they proposed this year, it is the largest tax increase in American history. The biggest tax increase before this was back in 1993. That was a $241 billion tax increase.

This tax increase that they're proposing now is a $683 billion tax increase. Now that is a big number. People probably want to know what does that number mean? It sounds big. It is going to do a lot.

Well, here is exactly what they mean when they are talking about a $683 billion tax increase. They want ordinary income taxes to go up across the board. So for people who got an income tax rate cut, that is every income taxpayer in 2003, they are going to go up across the board. We are now going to make small businesses who file their taxes as ordinary income taxpayers at about a 40 percent tax rate.

What is interesting is the people in the top tax bracket. We hear a lot of people running for President saying, we want the rich people to pay taxes. Guess what? Seventy-five percent of those who file in the top tax bracket are small businesses. They are not Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. They are small businesses who pay their taxes as individuals because that's the way small business taxation occurs in America.

What's more to the point is the fact that 70 percent of our jobs in America come from small businesses. So they're saying, not only do we propose to raise income taxes across the board for all income taxpayers, also on the engine of economic growth and job creation in America is small businesses. They're also saying, we want to raise taxes on capital gains and dividends. Those are the taxes that affect the value of our 401(k) plans, our IRAs and our pensions.

They also want to bring the death tax back into full force so that you pay taxes not once, not twice, not three times while you are living, but after you die as well. They also want to bring the marriage penalty back. We actually repealed the marriage penalty in 2003. They are proposing that it comes back in so they can spend that money on more government spending programs here in Washington. That hits taxpayers an average of $1,400 per married couple.

They are also proposing to cut the child tax credit in half from $1,000 down to $500. That means a tax increase of $500 per child. And they are also proposing to get rid of the lower income tax bracket, which is a 10 percent bracket, to a 15 percent bracket.

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