WE WILL PAY FOR OUR TAX CUTS -- (House of Representatives - February 10, 2004)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from California (Mr. Schiff) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, just 3 years ago the state of our economy was strong. We had just seen 20 million new jobs created. We had seen the fastest growth in 30 years, the lowest unemployment in 30 years, the lowest poverty rates in 20 years, and the first back-to-back surpluses in 42 years, up to a surplus of $236 billion.
Alan Greenspan and others wondered aloud about the danger of an America that was debt free. What we would do, what we would give to have an America that is debt free now. But instead, our economy is in a different place. Instead, we have lost 2.2 million jobs in the last 3 years; and despite a rise in the stock market and productivity gains, there are no new jobs. People are searching for work longer and finding less.
This result was not unforeseeable. For years, members of the Blue Dog Coalition warned we were spending money we did not have, that the administration had no economic plan, that tax cuts alone were not a substitute for an economic plan for our country's future. Last year, this Congress voted to pass an increase in the national debt. At the same time we took up the increase in the national debt, we took up a further round of tax cuts.
I remember standing here on this House floor and pointing out the awful irony that in the same week we voted to raise the national debt we voted to cut taxes further. And it was plain we were borrowing the money to cut taxes further. A tax cut that is not paid for is not a tax cut at all. It is merely a deferral of the obligation to our children, to the next generation.
So we have reached an unfortunate milestone in our Nation's history where we have the largest deficits we have ever had, $521 billion for this year alone, and no plan, no plan in sight to put our fiscal house in order.
In fact, the administration's budget makes a bad problem worse, by failing to include the costs of the war in Iraq, by failing to include the costs that we will incur 5 years from now when this deficit will mushroom, by calling for a trillion dollars in new tax cuts without paying for them.
If your family or mine budgeted this way, we would all go bankrupt. Our families know what it is like to balance the checkbook at the end of the month, the end of the year; and it is time the Federal Government did the same. It is not too late to avoid leaving our children a crushing debt. It is not too late to create new jobs and put Americans back to work. It is not too late to end our dependence on foreign financing of our Nation's debt. But it is time to put our fiscal house back in order, by paying our bills as we go. The administration wants another tax cut? Fine. Let us pay for it. The administration wants to spend more? That is fine. But let us pay for it.
If we have not the courage to ask the American people to sacrifice at a time of war, let us not add the indignity of asking our children to bear the burden alone.