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Pathway to Job Creation Through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I thank the Chair for yielding. And I enjoyed listening to the stories of lore from my colleagues who hearken back to the good old days when we had smoke-filled backroom deals where laws were written. That's not what we are interested in achieving here. What we want to achieve is a process done in plain view, transparent to the public, that maximizes the opportunity for Congress to actually fix the mess that has become the United States Tax Code.

At the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, I think there's a difference in philosophy here. One side likes to think of the idea of everybody sending their money to Washington, then we go into a backroom and we slice up the money and then we send it out to favored groups, favored constituents, and people that we want to be as winners versus those who might be losers.

We've got to get out of the game of Washington picking winners and losers in the Tax Code. Because what we do is we stifle that entrepreneur who has an idea, who might not have connections, but can actually have an idea and make a business grow. We want to remove those barriers to opportunity. We want to remove those barriers to upward mobility. We want a system of entrepreneurs where we have true entrepreneurial capitalism, not this crony capitalism.

Mr. Speaker, both political parties are guilty of this. Republicans and Democrats for decades were party to the process of tucking into the Tax Code all these various special interest loopholes which end up rewarding a few while raising tax rates on the many. Well, we've got to get through those days, because if we haven't noticed, we're in global competition. Ninety-seven percent of the world's consumers live in other countries. If we want to have a good, strong growing entrepreneurial economy, we need to make things here in America and sell things overseas. But if we keep taxing our successful small businesses, our businesses all around at much higher tax rates than our foreign competitors tax theirs, they win and we lose.

I come from Wisconsin. We're a manufacturing State. That's how we survive. We grow things, and we make things in Wisconsin. Our chief competitors right over Lake Superior are the Canadians. Canada just lowered their tax rate for all of their businesses to 15 percent last January. Well, the substitute that the gentleman brought to the floor, the substitute that the President is asking for, will bring the effective top tax rate for those most successful small businesses in Wisconsin to as high as 44.8 percent.

Mr. Speaker, how on Earth are our businesses, our manufacturers, our successful small businesses going to compete when we're taxing them at a Federal level almost as high as 45 percent and our competitors are at 25 or 15 or lower? We won't. That's why we want to reform the tax system.


Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. The difference in philosophy is this. Some here like the idea of bringing more money out of people's paychecks, more money out of our successful small businesses, and then parceling it out in favors. We prefer the opposite. Let people, let families and let businesses keep their money in the first place so they can decide what they want to do with it.

By having high tax rates with lots of loopholes, all we end up doing is we say, you can have some of your money back if you do what we approve of in Washington. Even with the best of intentions behind such ideas, it gets corrupt. The powerful and the connected are the ones who call the shots.

So, yes, we need to clear the brush out. And, yes, there are popular provisions in the Tax Code, and that is why we want to have a process in front to debate those things. There will be fiscal space left for things like charities and such the like. Let's have a clear--in public, not a backroom--process where we debate just how best to go forward. And what we want is a clean up-and-down vote so that we can get this country going again, we can get this economy back on track, and we can look at our children and know that we left them better off.


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