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Public Statements

Getting the Nation Back on Track

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. JORDAN of Ohio. I thank the gentleman from South Carolina for yielding, and appreciate this opportunity that RSC has put together to talk about taxes and spending and some of the challenges we face as a country.

We live in the greatest country in the world, but we do face some serious challenges. Obviously we face the challenge of terrorism, the threat from people who want to do our country harm and who don't believe in the great values that made us the greatest country in human history.

Also, we face another challenge, and that is the challenge of dealing with the fiscal situation that confronts us as Members of Congress. Just some numbers. The previous speaker from Missouri talked about tax issues. It is important to understand, you hear from time to time tax-and-spend politicians, it is really not that, it is really spend and tax. Spending drives the equation, and we have got to get Federal spending under control.

Just some numbers. The greatest economy in human history is the U.S. economy. It is the largest economy ever, a $14 trillion annual economy.

The second largest economy in the world is the nation of Japan, approximately $3.2 trillion.

The third largest economy, if I can use that term, is the Federal Government. We all just saw the budget that came out last week, a $3 trillion Federal budget. We have a $3 trillion annual operating budget, and we have a $9 trillion national debt. The Federal Government spends $23,000 per year per household; the top 25 percent of income earners pay 84 percent of the taxes. So when you hear these elected officials say we have to give tax cuts to the middle class, we are going to tax the rich, it is already happening. So when people talk about only taxing the rich, what they really mean is they are going to tax taxpayers. Every single family is going to pay more.

We have to get spending under control if we are going to keep taxes low so families have more of their money to spend on their goals and their dreams, their kids and their grandkids.

Last year I was proud to be part of the RSC who worked hard at lowering spending. In fact, we didn't really work to lower spending. What we said to the majority party is, let's spend what we spent last year. We offered a series of amendments. The way the process works around here is we have to have 12 appropriations bills in law by the end of our fiscal year, which is September 30.

So as those bills were moving through, we offered a series of amendments that said, let's spend what we spent the previous year. After all, all kinds of families, all kinds of business owners, all kinds of taxpayers in this great country have had to do that from time to time. Doesn't it make some sense for the Federal Government, where everyone instinctively knows we have waste in spending, doesn't it make sense for the Federal Government to maybe just live on what they did the previous year? But no, the majority party wouldn't do that. And they increased spending on those bills at three and four and in some cases five times the rate of inflation. And all we said was, let's just hold the line.

And the argument we got when we offered our amendments was, you know what, if we can't spend more, the world's going to end, the sky's going to fall, all kinds of terrible things are going to happen. We just can't do that. We've got to spend more.

Well, as the process unfolded, and so that the American people understand, Madam Speaker, we didn't have any one of those bills, not one single bill was enacted by September 30. And so on September 30, we had to pass what's called a continuing resolution, which is a fancy way of saying, let's live on last year's budget.

A few weeks into that, I came to this floor, same spot here, and gave a speech. I said, you know, a few months ago, a few weeks ago we had talked about the fact that we wanted to hold the line on spending and we were told that if we didn't increase spending, all kinds of bad things were going to happen; the sky was going to fall, the sun wouldn't come up.

I said, you know what? For the past 6 weeks we've been living on last year's budget and imagine this: The government's still running. The sun's still coming up; the world hasn't ended. I said, how can that be? And my rhetorical question was, You know what? If we can do it for 6 weeks, I bet we could do it for 6 months, I bet we could do it for a whole year, and save the taxpayers a lot of money and, more importantly, and maybe most importantly, begin to better position ourselves as a country to deal with the long-term problems that we know are out there.

It is important that we get spending under control because when we do, we can make sure our economy continues to grow, we can keep taxes low, and we can let families have the kind of resources they need, their resources, to spend on their goals and dreams.

The last thing I will say is this before yielding back to the gentleman from South Carolina.

The way the world works is this: The economic leader in the world is the military leader in the world. Right now that is one country, the United States of America, and that's a good thing. It is good when American leads.

You know, folks at home in Ohio, folks back home in Carolina, they get it. They understand that instinctively. I think maybe the only people who don't understand that fact is the editorial page of the New York Times.

I love the line Cal Thomas has, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas. He talks about how normal people perceive things, and how sometimes the elite national press perceives things. And he has a great line. He says, I get up every morning, I read my Bible and the New York Times so I can see what each side's up to. And there's some truth to that statement.

It's important that we lead economically. We can do that by keeping spending low and keeping taxes low. And when we do that we can be the leader of the world, which is a good thing for safety around the planet.

With that I would yield back to the gentleman. I appreciate again his putting this hour together and talking about this very important challenge that we face as a country.


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