Author, revolutionary, and one of our nation's Founding Fathers, Thomas Paine once said "When a government is just, taxes are few." Paine warned of largess in government and excessive taxes. In 2007, more than 200 years later, Americans surrendered nearly 30% of their income to federal and state governments. I would venture this tax rate is not what Paine and many of the Founding Fathers had in mind.
As Americans work harder to make ends meet, we have one more bill to pay in April -- our federal taxes. With high unemployment and so many middle class families struggling just to get by in today's economy, the majority party in Congress wants you to pay for bigger government. During this time of economic uncertainty, the number one priority for Congress should instead be to create jobs and strengthen the economy, not grow government and increase taxes on Americans.
What are Americans getting out of Washington today? Record spending, deficits, and debt. The Administration's budget for fiscal year 2011 pushes spending to a new record, widens the deficit, and raises taxes by $1.8 trillion through 2020. While Nevadans struggle to find work, the federal government has grown unchecked. The majority party has increased taxes by more than $670 billion just this Congress. Recently, the head of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board suggested a new, value added tax on everything we purchase as a good way to pay for record debt created by this Administration. This new tax would be in addition to all of the other taxes we already pay. I oppose any new taxes or tax increases, including this new value added tax.
The first step to strengthening our economy is for Congress to embrace fiscal responsibility. Washington does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. Growing the size of government, increasing taxes, and discouraging investment is the opposite of what our economy and working families in Nevada need. Congress should instead consider proposals that reduce spending, lower the deficit, and provide permanent relief for all taxpayers.
A study conducted at the Tax Policy Center found that taxes would need to increase by nearly 40 percent to reduce the deficit to 3 percent of our gross domestic product by 2015, a goal set by the Obama administration. That tax boost would mean the lowest income tax rate would jump from 10 to nearly 14 percent, and the top rate from 35 to 48 percent. Even if the President only raised taxes on couples making $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $200,000, the top two income tax rates would more than double to get the deficit down to 3 percent of GDP. Even under these scenarios, our nation would not come close to eliminating the deficit.
This study underscores the fact that our government's biggest problem is spending, not revenue. Unfortunately, there are those who believe that reckless spending is necessary to usher in a new era of tax increases. If a strong economy is truly the goal of this Administration and Congress, then we must get federal spending under control, keep taxes low, and allow businesses to grow. On tax day, we should all take a moment to evaluate how the government spends our money and why it is asking for more.