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Mr. KINGSTON. First of all, I wanted to associate myself with the previous speaker, my friend from Pennsylvania. I, too, support a consumption tax, a fair tax, tax simplification in whatever form. And I hope we can come together and work on tax reform and tax simplification in the year ahead.
Now today, though, we're doing a show in politics. We're voting on a bill which the Speaker knows there aren't the votes to pass. She furthermore knows that if it did pass, the Senate is not going to pass it. Today is all about political show. It's about more class warfare. It's interesting that the Speaker would choose this route because on November 2 I believe that brand of politics was squarely rejected by the voters all across America.
We also know that the economic policies of the Speaker and the President have failed. When the stimulus bill was passed, unemployment was about 7.6 percent. We were told this would keep it from going to 8 percent. But here we are now with unemployment at nearly 10 percent--15 million people out of work--and we're hearing again from the Democrats that this is what we need to do to turn the economy around.
I believe the American people spoke on that squarely. And I think the statistics show, with a 10 percent unemployment rate, it's not going to work.
About 75 percent of small businesses--and I think there's something like 27 million in the country--75 percent of them file their taxes as individuals; 750,000 of them actually would come under this category of getting a tax increase. And these are people who are the first to turn around and hire folks when the economy improves. These are Sheetrock contractors. These are restaurant owners. These are other tradesmen who have two, three, four, five, fifteen employees, and they're going to be the first ones to turn around and hire folks. So right now, we do not want to hit them with a high tax increase.
We need to reject this and continue to work with the White House and come up with a compromise.
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