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Public Statements

The Role of Government

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, it's my privilege to be addressing you here on the floor of the House of Representatives. It's always interesting for me to sit here and listen to the other Members deliver their impression of what goes on and how they envision the future, and I enjoyed the gentleman from Illinois's presentation, and the gentleman from California, and particularly the gentleman from Arizona, who came here to talk about the balanced budget amendment. And so I take that issue up as we get ready to close out the evening, and I would like to add some of the points that I have to this.

That is, when I was first elected to office, it was in the State senate in 1996, and I believed that if I just simply made a cogent argument on principle that it would sway my colleagues over to my side. I didn't think it was all that complicated. It wouldn't be hard to talk about balancing the budget, keeping the spending within our times. Because, after all, each year government always provides more and more of what people were providing for themselves the years before. So this encroachment of government that is the growth in the nanny state and the decrease in personal responsibility had been going along for years back then. It's been accelerated in the last few years.

But the question I'd ask at this point is: What should government not do? What is it that is too much for government to do? Where should we draw the line? And as now I am halfway into the ninth year in this United States Congress, Mr. Speaker, I have been engaged in so many debates and pushed so many bills and supported and opposed so much legislation that I see the pattern. I see a pattern.

It's over here on this side, they believe the government should do everything and that anybody that is investing their capital and returning an income off of that and making some money is somehow an evil capitalist,
victimizing the proletariats and the workers. I get a little disappointed even with my own colleagues that constantly repeat this message that rings off the walls of the White House and rang off of the walls of the Speaker's office when Nancy Pelosi was the Speaker: Where are the jobs?

Well, okay, it's a legitimate question. But underneath that question is: Where are the profits? Where are the profits? Why would an individual invest their capital and their brainpower and their back power, their sweat equity, if they didn't have an opportunity to take that little pile of capital and build it up a little bit bigger, if they didn't have an opportunity to get a better return on their investment, if they just simply stuck it in U.S. Treasury bills?

People who invest money have to expect to have a profit. And then out of the profit, they pay the wages. And if they're making money off of the people they hire, they hire more people if they can see a model that will do that. That's how this worm turns. But it isn't evil capitalists.

I think Mr. Franks said it pretty well, but I will say this, that free enterprise capitalism has done more good for the world than any other system that's out there. It has gotten people out of bed in the morning. It's kept them up late at night. It's caused them to find another way to be more efficient. Competition makes us more efficient. And the desire to do well, sometimes just for the pure sake of the challenge of it all, that desire to do well drives many of us.

So the people that are out there creating jobs are doing so because there is a prospect for profit. That's where the jobs are. If the prospect for profit isn't there, if the degree of risk is not proportional to the potential for profit, they're not going to take the risk. It's that simple, Mr. Speaker.

And over on this side, I hear sometimes this lack of resolve that, yes, we ought to have a balanced budget and we need to get there, but it's just too soon to rush there, the resistance to the idea that we should take a look at this spending now and cut this spending now, get it under control now.

When I first came into this Congress and swore in here on this floor in January of 2003, shortly after that I went over to the chairman of the Budget Committee and said where is the balanced budget, 2003. And he said to me, we can't balance the budget. Why not? It's too hard. Why is it too hard? Because we have too many expenses, too many burdens.

Don't you know, don't you know, green freshman Congressman in 2003, that we have been hit by the enemy on September 11, 2001? Don't you know we had to create an entire TSA and put this huge security system up and merge together the Department of Homeland Security? Don't you know that we had to organize and deploy the military over to places like Afghanistan? Didn't I know that we were mobilizing to go into Iraq at that very time, that our expenses were too high, we couldn't balance the budget, couldn't provide a balanced budget because it was too hard. It was too hard to balance the budget because our financial system had taken a hard hit on September 11, 2001, and because we had a war to fight--actually two wars to fight, and because we had to create all of this billions of dollars worth of security so we could keep ourselves safe.

And didn't I know that that was right on the tail end of the first thing of the dot-com bubble that was a false economy, that bubble that actually was a huge component in getting the budget balanced during those late Clinton years--that dot-com bubble had to burst because it wasn't built on the ability to produce a good or a service and deliver it more efficiently, but it was built on the speculation that we could store information and transfer it more efficiently than ever before, and we could. But that didn't necessarily translate into the efficiencies that come that create the profit. So the dot-com bubble burst, September 11 came, TSA was created, Homeland Security was created, two wars were fought, and through all of that we lost that sight of austerity.

And I wish that President Bush had said to us, tighten your belt, we are going to pay for this conflict, and we are going to pay for this tragedy that happened to the United States of America by all of us sharing the sacrifice by tightening our belt, not by raising taxes on people that are producing jobs. But it didn't happen that way, and I made my arguments, and I made them every year. And I went through a lot to try to produce a balanced budget throughout those years. We never got a balanced budget that we could bring to the floor, not that balanced in a single year.

But I will say, Mr. Speaker, during the height of the Iraq war, when things looked as bad as they could have looked, and about the time that George Bush was preparing to order the surge, about that period of time, we had a budget that came within $160 billion of balancing, $160 billion, Mr. Speaker.

Now that $160 billion, boy, how do I wish we would have found a way to tighten it down so we didn't have that deficit, that we could have balanced that budget in that year. We came very, very close--$160 billion didn't sound close. It's close, it's really close compared to what we have today.

And so the President offers a budget that nobody will pick up and vote for and support, but it's a $1.65 trillion deficit spending budget, $1.65 trillion. And I listen to people that will say to me, Republicans overspent. Yes, we did. I make that confession. But the overspending of $160 billion compared to the overspending of $1.65 trillion is 10-1 Obama administration versus the Bush administration, 10-1.

And here we are now with a number that is greater than $3 trillion, maybe less than $5 trillion, and a deficit that has been created by the Obama administration with no end in sight. And the President insisted that this Congress grant to him $2.4 trillion in unfettered debt ceiling increase, a clean debt ceiling increase bill, no strings attached, $2.4 trillion.

Now, that was irresponsible, and when you find yourself with a divided government like we have, this government would have gone in that direction in a heartbeat if Nancy Pelosi had still been the Speaker. I can tell you if she would have been in charge, if Democrats would have had the majority here in the House of Representatives and Harry Reid would be running the shop down that hallway through there in the Senate, and the President asked for $2.4 trillion there would hardly have been a debate, Mr. Speaker, hardly a debate at all.

They would have brought a bill under a closed rule down here to the floor with a limited amount of debate. And if they thought there was going to be negative publicity, it would have happened at the time of the night that the press was not going to be able to report it so that the American people would pay attention.

And, yes, it would have leaked out, there wouldn't have been a lid on the secret. But neither would it have been with a great deal of fanfare. It would have been $2.4 trillion, rubberstamped by this Congress, House, and Senate and sent to the President for his signature, business as usual, and off we would have gone. And we would have seen ourselves then with a national debt of, oh, let's say, $16.7 trillion, no questions asked, no strings attached. That's what would have happened.

But the American people rose up over the last couple of years, and they formed organizations around this country spontaneously, Project 912 organizations, Tea Party organizations, not by the dozens or the scores--by the hundreds, by the thousands, Mr. Speaker. Organizations by the thousands across this country, some organized, some not, loosely organized, affiliated on each other's email list, paying attention, having meetings, energizing themselves, identifying candidates, running some of their own candidates, becoming candidates themselves, supporting people that will come to this Congress and to the State legislatures all across this land and put our fiscal house in order. That's what's been going on over the last couple of years in this country.

And another thing that mobilized the people in this country was ObamaCare. When the ruling troika at the time, I called it, that would be the Obama -Pelosi-Reid ruling troika, decided that they were going to force-feed

ObamaCare down the throat of this country, we saw tens of thousands mobilized to come to this Capitol, to surround this Capitol, to jam the Capitol
to, heck, keep it so packed that people couldn't get in or out, so that they couldn't do business; demand, do not take American liberty, do not nationalize the second-most-sovereign thing we have, which is our health, our skin and everything inside it, but they did.

By legislative shenanigans and unprecedented maneuvering they did force ObamaCare care on us, and we are now hanging in the balance of whether we are able to repeal ObamaCare or whether it becomes the institutionalized roots down deep, permanent and perpetual law of the land.

I thought a wise statement was made a week ago Wednesday morning at a breakfast that I host when the guest speaker said that he believes if Barack Obama is reelected President that ObamaCare gets institutionalized in perpetuity as the law of the land. And if Barack Obama is not reelected, then we will repeal ObamaCare and pull it out by the roots.

That's one of the big things that are at stake, and I have staked a lot of my efforts over the last 23 or so months in working to first defeat and then to repeal ObamaCare. And when we passed the repeal here in the House of Representatives and the language that I drafted went over to the Senate, shortly after that, some weeks after that we took up the defunding of ObamaCare and we passed that legislation with the CR over to the Senate, where it was peeled off and voted down.

But every Republican in the House of Representatives and every Republican in the United States Senate has voted to repeal ObamaCare and has voted to shut off all funding to implement or enforce ObamaCare, every one, and it's been a bipartisan effort also to get those things done.

That's a piece of this large deficit spending that we have, and people said, what does it take for you to vote for this debt ceiling increase that passed the House tonight? And my answer immediately is, just put the repeal of ObamaCare and attach it to the debt ceiling increase, and I will salivate to vote for that.

The first full 10 years and outlays for ObamaCare are $2.6 trillion, according to the chairman of the Budget Committee, $2.6 trillion. So, in comparison, it stays consistent with Speaker Boehner's standard for, are we going to have more dollars in cuts than we have in debt ceiling increase; a 2.4 or actually down around a 2.2 debt ceiling increase, compared to a $2.6 trillion repeal of ObamaCare, I think is an okay bargain because we get back our liberty. We get back the chance to manage our health care and purchase a health insurance policy of our choice, one that's created by the market that's produced by the demand of the American people and not one that's managed and defined by the bureaucrats in Washington.

Mr. Speaker, I will just give you an example of what goes on and the oppressive nature of ObamaCare, a socialized medicine proposal that decides what kind of policy we can have and what kind of policy we can't have. Now, that's a constraint that I just can't abide in a free country.

If I want to buy a health insurance policy that has a $10,000 deductible, I want to do that. That's my business. If I want to buy a policy that has a 50 percent copayment for the first million dollars and I want to do that, that's my business. I don't need nanny state telling me what I can and can't buy, but they do.

And now they have concluded, as of a notice that came out today, that every health insurance policy in America that is approved by the Federal Government--that will be every one that you can buy under ObamaCare--shall cover contraceptives--no copayment, no charge, except it gets averaged across everybody else's premium. Contraceptives will become, by edict of the Federal Government, a component of everybody's health insurance policy under ObamaCare.

Now, think about that. We have people that are single, we have people that are past reproductive age, and we have priests that are celibate, all of them paying insurance premiums that cover contraceptives so that somebody else doesn't have to pay the full fare of that? And they have called it preventative medicine--preventative medicine. Well, if you apply that preventative medicine universally, what you end up with is you have prevented a generation.

Preventing babies from being born is not medicine. That's not constructive to our culture and our civilization. If we let our birth rate down below the replacement rate, we are a dying civilization. And right now we are at about 2.1 babies per woman. That is just the replacement rate, that's all it is. And Teddy Roosevelt wrote about that. It isn't committed verbatim to my memory, but he said that any race that doesn't care enough about itself to reproduce itself will essentially become extinct. And he said, I, for one, will not lament their loss, and I shall welcome the advent of a new generation, a new group of people who will care enough to have their own babies.

And now we have a Federal Government that has not just subsidized contraceptives but has written an edict that every health insurance policy will include contraceptives because they consider it to be preventative health care. Now, none of us would have health to worry about if they prevented us, would we, Mr. Speaker?

Now, that is bizarre. It is Orwellian. It is not even counterintuitive. But that's an example of what's going on in this country today, one of the reasons why we have to reverse the political power that is in the White House and in the Senate.

Mr. Speaker, the $2.6 trillion in the first full 10 years of outlays of the Obama administration is a piece of this irresponsible spending that we have been involved in. And now the administration is driving that 3 to maybe as much as $5 trillion in unnecessary and irresponsible spending and projecting this national debt that goes from $14 trillion on up to $16.7 trillion.

Here are some examples of what we need to do to solve this problem. One, as I said, repeal ObamaCare. Rip it out by the roots, lock, stock and barrel. Pull out all the vestiges of ObamaCare without any particle of DNA left behind so that it can't reproduce and grow back on us. We cannot let that happen. It's an unconstitutional taking of American liberty. It has got to go. It diminishes our vitality, it diminishes our future, and it diminishes our American potential. Pulling ObamaCare out by the roots is one big piece of the solution.

Another big piece of the solution, Mr. Speaker, is to pass the FairTax, the national sales tax, to end the IRS as we know it, and stop punishing people who are producing. We need people in the private sector that are out there creating a profit by their own nature of industriousness, intuitiveness, and entrepreneurialism. And we need to grow the private sector. We need to reward people for doing that. And instead, we punish them.

Uncle Sam has the first lien on all productivity in the country, every bit of it: if you have earnings, savings or investment, if you punch a time clock, if you have a passbook savings, if you have dividends or interest payments that are coming your way or an estate that is coming your way, or if you have capital gains that are coming your way. How about the rent check for an apartment complex that you might have invested in? How about the per acre rent on a farm? How about anything you might sell that you have produced, whether you've got a lemonade stand or whether you are the Donald, Uncle Sam is going to tax your productivity.

He stands there by that time clock day after day. And when you go to work on Monday morning at 8 o'clock and you punch the time clock, you hear that thunk and his hand comes out of his pocket and he holds it out and you go to work. And each dollar you earn goes into his hand until Uncle Sam has enough to satisfy his appetite for the fruits of your labor. When that moment comes in that day--you punch the time card at 8 o'clock--it might be 11 o'clock, it might be 11:30, it might be noon, it might be after lunch that you've finally earned enough that Uncle Sam will put all those dollars you have earned in his pocket and walk away for the day. Then you can go to work for the Governor. It's not as much. He puts that in his pocket. Now you're down to maybe you're doing it for the wife and kids, or the husband and the kids as the case may be. Not a lot is left for us. But the next morning, that wolf is at the door again. And you punch the time clock again, and there

stands Uncle Sam, and out comes his hand, and in goes each dollar you earn until he is satisfied and he puts it in his pocket and he walks away. You do it every single day.

And so why do people go to work when we have over 72 means-tested Federal welfare programs that reward people for not working? Over 72 of them. It can be a heat subsidy, a rent subsidy, SNAP--that's the food stamp

program. Now, they had to rename it because ``food stamps'' had a bad image--and the TANF program, and the list goes on and on and on. No one can name all of them from the top of their head, which means no one can analyze how they interrelate or how they motivate people to go to work or not to go to work.

And I will tell you, people will do what you pay them to do. If you pay them to stay home, they'll stay home. If you pay them to have babies, they'll have babies. If you pay them to go to work, they'll go to work. If you give them an unemployment check and you say that you're not going to get this check if you go to work, they're not going to work anymore. Some will out of conscience, yes. We have good, decent people in this country. But by and large, if you pay people not to work, they're not going to show up to work.

So what we need to do is take all that tax off of productivity, put it over on the consumption side, let everybody go to work and earn all they want to earn, save all they want to save, and invest all they want to invest. They get 56 percent more in their paycheck under the FairTax, 56 percent more.

The goods and services that we buy go down in price an average of 22 percent, because in the price of what we're buying is the income tax and the payroll tax of the wages of the people that produced it. Employers have to, companies have to build that price in because they don't pay the tax. Last stop, consumers pay the tax--not corporations, not companies, not producers. They are the collectors. But they are not the payers. They are the tax collectors.

So if we go down that line and cut off and shut off the IRS and repeal and abolish the IRS Tax Code and let people earn all they want to earn and invest all they want to invest and save all they want to save, there will be an incentive there also for savings and investment, and our economy grows dynamically again. And the goods and services that are being produced in foreign countries start to come back here to be produced again.

We, Mr. Speaker, have gotten ourselves in a bad fix. We have exported, because of our tax structure and the bureaucratic burden and the regulatory burden, we have exported a lot of American industry to places like China. And now we buy Chinese goods and we borrow the money from the Chinese to buy the product of the industry that they've created that we've shipped there. And it has been a colossal mistake to turn us in the opposite direction from the industrialized, productive America into the America that sends IOUs to China and brings goods in from China that we used to make while we pay people not to work--$212 billion. Most of it went for unemployment benefits last December.

We pay people not to work. Not just the unemployment benefits; we pay people not to work by the 70-some means-tested welfare programs. And some of those that will work are nudged out of the job because we have a number of 12 million or more illegals in this country, of which about 8 million are statistically working in this economy, every one of them taking a job that an American or a legal immigrant can do.

It is bizarre for us, Mr. Speaker, to pay millions not to work through 70-plus means-tested welfare programs, pay others not to work on unemployment, and accept the idea that illegals come into America and take jobs from Americans, all the while while we shift our industry over to places like China and borrow money from the Chinese and the Saudis to buy things from the Chinese and the Saudis, let alone develop our own energy here domestically where we can, drill in ANWR, the Outer Continental Shelf, more drilling in the Gulf. And yes, I'd trade with Canada and bring that pipeline down here. Let's do business with our best trading partners.

While all of that is going on, and that's a list of some of the things that I lament, Mr. Speaker, but I'd add to that list, we are spending ourselves so deeply into debt that we aren't very many years from not being able to figure out a way to come out. And a constitutional balanced budget amendment is the only solution that I can see that can crack the intransigence of the people over here that believe that we can live in deficit spending in perpetuity, that we can run the debt up in perpetuity, and that we're never going to be held accountable, that we can always borrow and always spend, and we can borrow enough money to buy all of the wants that they have politically so they can pacify their constituents. And yes, it happens over on this side, some, too.

But I want to see a balanced budget amendment come through, and the stage is now set for us to spend the next couple of months marketing the idea of a balanced budget amendment. I want to see the balanced budget amendment that we marked up in the Judiciary Committee. It took 3 days to do so. Bob Goodlatte drafted and introduced a balanced budget amendment that requires that this Federal Government live under a balanced budget, and it requires that there be a three-fifths majority in both Houses in order to waive that balance.

So if the body here and there decides we have to break that pledge to balance, we have to vote to do so, three-fifths; 60 percent supermajority. If we're going to raise the debt limit, it takes a supermajority of three-fifths to do so under the balanced budget amendment of Bob Goodlatte. It requires that we spend below the cap of 18 percent of GDP, and we must not exceed an 18 percent gross domestic product cap. That's all the Federal Government can consume. We are up now to 23-something percent. We have to dial it down to a historic average of 18 percent. That is a two-thirds majority to spend above the 18 percent cap of GDP, and it requires a two-thirds majority to increase taxes.

Those are all standards that we need to hold to in this Congress, and it's going to take a two-thirds majority in this Congress to send that balanced budget over to the Senate and on to the States. I will be working to see to it that that happens.

Meanwhile, I just want to speak into the record that I voted no on this bill today that raised the debt ceiling, and I did so for a number of reasons. One of them is the standards that I have just put into the record for a balanced budget amendment are not written into the bill. So a balanced budget amendment might take any form. It might be a form that can simply be waived by a majority of the House and the Senate. That seems a little ridiculous, but I take you to that point because the definition doesn't hold us to any standard. I want to hold to the standard that I have just stated.

Another thing is this bill today does cuts as a condition to increase the debt ceiling; but those cuts are only $17 billion out of discretionary spending for the 1 year that we control, that is 2012 fiscal year. The Ryan budget produced $31 billion in cuts out of the 2012 fiscal year and discretionary; $24 billion less cuts already. It shows we don't have the resolve to do the early cutting, only the promise to do the late cutting. So if you have the late cutting instead of the early cutting, that means we may not be held accountable down the line. Politicians want to push that off on to future Congresses. They don't want to go home and face their constituents in this time.

So I urge that we pass a balanced budget here out of this Congress. We realize that we have taken a small step today. We have to take big steps if we are going to get this country where it belongs. And I look forward to the day I can say to my grandchildren: We did clear a path for you. We did do it right. We did get to a balanced budget, now it's up to you to take this country to the next level of its destiny.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your attention, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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