Throughout my years of service, I have been a fiscal conservative. I have supported a balanced budget since I was first elected to Congress and was an original co-sponsor of the Balanced Budget Amendment that passed the House in 1995.
I support efforts to eliminate wasteful spending and slow the rate of growth in government, and I am an original co-sponsor of legislation such as H.J. Res 2 that would require a three-fifths majority vote on any increase in the national debt. I am also a cosponsor of a bill, H. J. Res. 1, which would direct the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress annually and would also prohibit deficit spending unless there is a three-fifths vote by both the House and the Senate or there is a declaration of war in effect. By making it more difficult to increase the debt ceiling, we would discourage reckless spending.
Continually raising the debt ceiling is the product of bloated budgets, and in order to make our deficits more manageable, we will have to pass more reasonable budgets. I am pleased that the Republican majority in the House has made this our top priority this year. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, our highest ranking officer in the US Armed Forces, has called our national debt the "biggest national security threat" we face, and we risk being consumed in a sea of debt that could permanently stifle our economy.
Reducing government spending is only part of the solution. It is imperative that we reform our tax code. It is unfair, overly burdensome, and discourages savings and investment. For these reasons, I am a strong supporter of HR 25, the Fair Tax Act of 2011, which would replace the income, employment, estate, and gift tax with a consumption tax. This should not be confused with the Value Added Tax or (VAT) that some are proposing in addition to our current tax code. HR 25 would eliminate the IRS and replace this bureaucracy with a simplified tax structure that does not require complicated forms and compliance rules. This would remove the dead weight placed on our economy by an overly cumbersome tax structure and would place the government in the role of enabling economic growth rather than prohibiting it through complex tax codes.
Similarly, I am an original supporter of the Death Tax Repeal Act, or HR 177. This bill simply repeals Subtitle B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, thereby removing all estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes. I am also a cosponsor of HR 1259, which keeps the present gift and estate taxes that are scheduled to expire next year. Death should not be a taxable event; rather, the government should create incentives for families to save and invest.
The current Administration proposes to increase taxes on capital gains, income, rental income, and virtually every other investment income. This decreases the incentive to invest and create jobs, and I believe this is the absolute wrong path toward recovery. No country ever taxed its way to prosperity, and I believe these rising taxes on all forms of income are deterrents that will stifle job creation. Furthermore, the potential for other tax increases on the horizon has created uncertainty for the future, resulting in an inability for companies to plan and make hiring decisions. Taxes resulting from ObamaCare (health care reform) are causing businesses to have second thoughts to adding employees and causing them to get by on fewer workers rather than take on the additional costs of impending healthcare penalties and other tax penalties.
The path to prosperity is not paved with government spending. Saving and investing, in combination with individual initiative, is the long-established road to growth and stability. Private enterprise should succeed or fail on its own merits, and I do not believe it is the government's job to pick winners and losers or run companies with our tax dollars. With this in mind, I voted against all of the bailout bills in the 111th Congress.
Overall, I will continue to work to create an environment that encourages growth, fosters innovation, and eliminates bureaucracy.