Buffett Rule Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:  Steve Scalise
Date: Sept. 19, 2012
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SCALISE. I thank the gentleman from Michigan for yielding and for bringing this legislation to the floor.

The Buffett Rule Act that we're debating now will set up a process where citizens all across the country, rich, poor, whatever their income level, if they feel that they haven't paid enough money into the Federal Treasury, then they can just check off a box and submit the amount of money that they want to pay in addition to what the normal tax liability is, and the assurance will be that that money will be used specifically to pay down the national debt, which, of course, just a few weeks ago, broke the $16 trillion mark under President Obama.

I think if you look at the Buffett Rule Act that we bring forward and contrast that with President Obama's proposed Buffett rule that he's talked about, what the President's talked about is actually raising taxes on the very small business owners that we need in our country to help create jobs to help get our economy going back again. In fact, even President Obama himself acknowledged that if you raise taxes on anybody in a bad economy, it will make the economy even worse.

And make no mistake about it, we are living right now in a bad economy, in many cases because of the President's policies, because of the so many tax increases that this President has already imposed. Just in ObamaCare alone, President Obama has imposed more than 20 new taxes on middle class families. Many of them haven't kicked in and they don't kick in until after the election, conveniently, but those taxes are on the books, and it's going to make it even harder for American families who are struggling to get by in a tough economy.

And so what's the President's latest answer in his version of the Buffett rule? It's to raise another $30-plus billion on the backs of our small business owners. By his own admission, that would make the economy even worse. And I think most people recognize the President would just use that money to go and spend even more money on a government that's already too big.

So the question is: Do we set up a process under President Obama's approach where he would raise taxes on small business earners, further hurting the economy, just so that he can have more money to spend in Washington, where there's already too much wasteful spending, or do we have a process like we establish here in this bill, the Buffett Rule Act, which says that if somebody truly does not feel they're paying enough in taxes, then they can simply check a box and there will be a format that they can lay out however much they want to spend more and that money will be used not to grow the size of the Federal Government but to reduce the national debt?

Again, it's a very clear contrast in approaches. If you look at the record that we've seen so far, the tax-and-spend approach under President Obama, it hasn't worked. We've had more than 8 percent employment literally since the President took office. And it's only gotten worse, to the point where millions of Americans have just given up looking for work. And the President's answer is to keep raising more taxes and spending more money and borrowing it from China because we don't have it.

We need a better approach. We need to address the mushrooming deficit that broke the $16 trillion mark. And if people like Warren Buffett and others like him feel they're not sending enough to Washington, let them put their money where their mouth is. Give them that action by giving them this check box, but knowing that if they do send in more money, it's not going to be used to keep growing a bloated Federal Government and spending money we don't have. It's going to be used to finally start paying down this national debt that's out of control and that's a burden to the opportunities of today's workers and the unemployed who are looking for jobs, but also to future generations--to our children and grandchildren who the big spenders in Washington are borrowing that money from and sending the bill to our children. They've got to stop doing it.

We've got to stop the way things are going now and get the economy back on track. And you don't do it by raising taxes. Again, President Obama even acknowledged that, even though his proposal is to raise taxes on our small business owners. You do it instead this way, by saying if you really feel like you want to send in more money to Washington, use it to pay down the national debt so we can finally get control over spending here.


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