President's Budget Spends Money We Don't Have
I first want to thank the gentle lady from Minnesota for giving me this time. She has been a real leader in this battle to try to restore some type of fiscal sanity to this government, and I can tell you this:
I represent a little over 700,000 people in East Tennessee. Fortune magazine said in 2000 that the Knoxville area had become the most popular place to move in the whole country based on the number moving in in relation to the fewest moving out. For many, many years now, we have had a tremendous movement in of people from all over the country and, in fact, of many from around the world. About half of the people I represent have moved from someplace else, so I have got a real cross-section of people from almost every State in this country. Over these last few weeks, I can tell you, from spending more time at home than I do up here, that people in East Tennessee think we have just gone almost crazy up here, throwing around trillions just almost in a meaningless, haphazard way.
The gentle lady from Minnesota showed this chart a while ago which says President Obama's budget spends too much, taxes too much, borrows too much. No truer words, Mr. Speaker, were ever said on this floor.
The Congressional Quarterly just yesterday came out with a chart, showing that we are going to add $1.840 trillion to our national debt just this year, and then we are going to add another one $1.370 trillion next year and another $970 billion the year after that. In 3-years' time, we are going to add over $4 trillion to our national debt under the most optimistic scenario by the estimate of the Congressional Budget Office.
That comes on the heels of several weeks ago when this Congress--most of us in the Chamber right at the moment voted against it--voted to raise the national debt limit to $12.104 trillion. That is an incomprehensible figure. Nobody can humanly comprehend that much, but we are going to hand over $4 trillion to that. What it means, Mr. Speaker, is this:
In just a few years, we are not going to be able to pay all of our Social Security and veterans' pensions and all of the things that we have promised our own people. I used to say--and I have heard many people say in the last few weeks even--what we are doing to our children and grandchildren is terrible--and it is--but actually, I think now we are doing it to ourselves because I think that, in 10 or 15 years, if that long, we are not going to be able to pay all of these things we have promised our own people. So I think it is really sad what we are doing to the American people because we are spending too much, taxing too much and borrowing too much.
Joe Scarborough said on his national television program just this morning: We are like a doctor who has diagnosed diabetes in a patient but who has then prescribed a diet of cotton candy. He said: We are like somebody making $100,000 a year who has suddenly gone out and bought ten $1 million houses. He said repeatedly something that I have said many times over these last couple of months: We can't afford it. We are spending money that we do not have, and every place in this world and throughout history, when a government has gotten in the position that we are in, you either have staggering inflation or staggering deflation, and one is just about as bad as the other. I don't have a crystal ball to know which one we are headed into. My guess would probably be staggering inflation. What we are doing is reckless, and what we are doing is dangerous. We passed a stimulus bill, and it had some good things in it, but once again, we were spending money that we did not have.
The Washington Post, which favored the stimulus bill, had a front-page story in which they said it was going to mean a massive financial windfall--those are their words--for Federal agencies. Then they had another story a couple of days later in which they said tens of thousands of new jobs would be added on or new hires would be added on by Federal agencies. That is who is going to benefit from this stimulus package--first Federal agencies, then State agencies. So bureaucrats all over the country are going to come out just fine, and maybe a little bit is going to trickle down to everybody else, but this is not who is hurting. This area is one of the wealthiest areas in the country, this Washington, D.C., northern Virginia, southern Maryland area. Yet they are going to receive a massive financial windfall according to The Washington Post.
On Lou Dobbs last week, he said 4 million jobs had been lost in the private sector in the last year alone. Four million jobs lost. Yet government payrolls had expanded by 151,000. Now, because of what we passed up here, government payrolls are going to expand once again.
There have been so many exaggerations over what is going to be done with this money. A couple of weeks ago, a daily newspaper in Montana reported that the two Montana Senators had put out a press release saying that 40 jobs were going to be created because of a $1.3 million portion of the stimulus package. The paper went to that agency, and that agency said: No, we have already got almost full employment. We are going to add two people because of this, and the rest of it is going to be spent on the employees they already have. So I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed over some of this money that we are spending, and we are spending, as I said, money that we do not have.
Now, two of the Members from Ohio--my colleague Mr. Tiberi and the new Member, Mr. Austria--both mentioned coal and utility bills and things of that nature because it has such a great effect on their State. We have powerful people in this body who are attempting to cut way back and who are attempting, hopefully, to even eliminate coal in this country. Well, I can tell you this: Anybody who is supporting that is going to really hurt the poor and the lower income and the working people because coal provides over 50 percent of our energy in this country today. If we cut way back on coal, we are going to double or triple or quadruple our utility bills, and we are going to hurt a lot of poor and low-income people.
I have noticed throughout the years that most of the environmental radicals and environmental extremists in this country come from very wealthy or very upper income families, and perhaps they don't realize how much they hurt the poor and the lower income and the working people when they destroy jobs and drive up prices. But if they cut way back on coal, that's exactly what is going to happen.
Our leader, Mr. Boehner, mentioned another thing. He said that this bill--and we heard a presentation from the ranking member of the Budget Committee just this morning which said that the President's budget has $1.9 trillion in tax increases in that budget. Jim Cramer, the famous stock man--he's on television every night, and he has been a six-figure contributor to the Democratic Party--he described the President's budget as the greatest wealth killer in history. And I will tell you, that is a pretty serious charge coming from that source: the greatest wealth killer in history.
And we just don't have enough people who understand--there is waste in the private sector but a business who continually wastes money cannot stay in business very long. But a government agency that wastes money, they use that as a justification for getting increased funding the next year.
So every dollar we can keep in the private sector is going to do more to create jobs and hold down prices because money in the private sector is spent so much more efficiently than this money that is turned over to government. Governor Edward Rendell, who is a former chairman of the Democratic Party, when he was mayor of Philadelphia, he testified before a Congressional committee and he said government does not work because it was not designed to. He said there is no incentive for people to work hard, so many do not. There is no incentive to save money, so much of it is squandered. That pretty much summed up the reason that money in the private sector is spent so much more efficiently than money turned over to the government. So every dollar we can keep in the private sector will do more to create jobs and hold down prices.
So we certainly don't need a budget that increases taxes by $1.9 trillion. It has been proven all over the world that when you let government get too big, what you do is you create this elite class at the top, you wipe out the middle class, and you create this huge starvation, or underclass, and certainly we have all traditionally in this country had the biggest middle class in the world because we kept our government--it has been very difficult, but throughout history we have kept our government one of the smallest in proportion to the GDP in this Nation.
I know there are some other people who want to speak. So once again, I want to thank the gentle lady from Minnesota for her hard work and her leadership in regard to the fiscal condition of this government. We need more people like her in the Congress, and it is an honor to serve with her, and I thank her for giving me her time today.