The policies of the administration and Democrats in Congress have led to too much government in the work place and in our daily lives. From controlling financial institutions, automakers and health insurance options, to dictating what types of energy sources are desirable and what policies state and local governments must adopt to receive federal funds, we have seen a tsunami of government intrusion.
Democrats have been spending like there's no tomorrow in order achieve this level of control. Last year's budget deficit was $1.4 trillion -- the highest level measured against GDP since World War II -- and the Democratic-led Congress just voted again to raise the debt ceiling by another $1.9 trillion in order to extend their credit limits. That's the fifth increase to the debt limit in the last 18 months, and the third increase in less than a year. Our total debt ceiling now stands at a staggering $14.3 trillion.
Beyond the overreach of government, the consequence of these policies is like a kick to the economy's head while it's struggling to recover, leading to slower economic growth today, and what could be an insurmountable level of debt for future generations. Congress must reign in excess spending and government regulations, and provide financial incentives for businesses to invest here at home rather than overseas.
While there can be a legitimate role for government to help jumpstart the economy and provide a temporary bridge for those looking for employment, current economic struggles should not be an excuse for the government to grow its involvement in our daily lives.
I opposed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) when it passed last year because I felt it was too broad and did not appropriately target opportunities that could provide immediate jobs and economic growth. Funding for shovel-ready transportation and other brick-and-mortar projects were widely supported across party lines, but for the most part ARRA was not a jobs stimulus bill, but a government stimulus bill.
More government involvement is not going to get our economy back on solid ground and provide the climate investors are looking for. Instead, Congress must demonstrate an ability to rein in the growing national debt. Alaskans are tightening their belts and cutting back on excess spending as they struggle to make ends meet in today's economy. The federal government should do the same. I pledge to fight to reduce growth in government spending and will vote against legislation that only grows the government, rather than growing private-sector jobs and the economy.
Congress must also extend the tax relief provided in the 2001 and 2003 tax bills, which are set to expire at the end of this year, including the individual and corporate income taxes, the child tax credit and the death tax. Allowing tax rates to rise back to their pre-2001 levels will have a direct impact on every tax payer's shrinking amount of disposable income, and will harm small business owners who account for 75 percent of new job creation. Two-thirds of those who would be negatively impacted by a failure to extend tax relief are small business owners. Extending this tax relief is a must if we're going to help our economy rebound.