Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:  Peter Welch
Date: March 19, 2013
Location: Unknown

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Mr. WELCH. I thank the gentleman, and I thank Mr. Ryan.

The focus and goal of this budget, as I understand it, is to eliminate the debt. That's a worthy goal. In fact, we all share it. But this budget, in my view, lacks ambition for other challenges. What about stagnant wages? Middle class declining? Lack of jobs? These are all fundamental issues that face the American economy.

The middle class is shrinking. Wages now are what they were as a level of our economy as they were in 1966. Just a week ago, when we voted for the sequester, it was a day when American profits were at a record higher than they had been since the 1950s, but American wages were back at 1966 levels.

There is an assertion here that we lack credibility and that we're taxers and spenders. I reject that. But let me remind the folks on the other side that a lot of the policies got us to this debt: a war in Iraq on the credit card, Afghanistan on the credit card, two tax cuts for the wealthy promising benefits to everybody else never paid for, and Medicare part D on the credit card. Then we had the collapse of the economy. Those were not our policies. Those were the policies of a previous President who erased a record surplus.

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Mr. WELCH. These are credibility questions, but there's also an economic policy question. There are two assumptions in this budget. One is that austerity will lead to prosperity, that getting the debt down by any means possible and any cuts possible will get us to the Promised Land; it's the pot of gold at the end of the Tea Party rainbow. There is no evidence for that whatsoever.

The second is a faith-based conviction that if you give tax cuts to wealthy people that will trickle down to the rest of us. No experience has shown that that can be successful.

We should be cleaning up the Tax Code. We should be fighting waste, fraud, and abuse. Whether it's in the Pentagon or in the health care system, we should be doing that together. This budget does not give us that chance.

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