The floodwaters have been rising for years — 40 consecutive months of unemployment greater than 8 percent, thousands of pages in new radical regulations, investments stagnant as job creators face a future with uncertain tax rates and trillions of dollars of new debt added because of wasteful spending such as Solyndra and costly laws such as the 2010 health care overhaul.
As we in Louisiana know all too well, when the waters are rising, you stand shoulder to shoulder with your neighbor to build a wall of sandbags until the waters recede. Unfortunately, there are many in Congress who, rather than fighting back against the rising waters, are ignoring the impending catastrophe altogether and refusing to throw a life raft to the millions of American families drowning in this Obama economy.
There are two starkly different mind-sets in Washington — those who believe in bigger government and more spending and those who trust hardworking taxpayers to make their own decisions with their money.
One thing we should all be able to agree on is that especially when families are struggling, the last thing they need from government is a massive tax hike. By the end of the year, without Congressional intervention, every American taxpayer will face dramatically higher income tax rates. The immoral death tax, which decimates family farms and small businesses, will skyrocket up to 60 percent. Taxes on capital gains will rise, crushing the incentive for job creators to invest in the next innovative startup.
President Barack Obama campaigns on divisiveness while imposing a radical agenda, leaving Americans uneasy and our economic recovery stifled by uncertainty. Even worse, the renewal of the current tax rates that even President Bill Clinton expressed support for is blocked by Washington liberals while the clock ticks closer to the tax hike deadline.
When families bring home less in their paychecks, they spend less. When small businesses face uncertainty in tax rates and regulations, they’re unable to grow and create new jobs.
When investors fear more of their earnings being seized by the government, they invest less, starving entrepreneurs of much-needed capital to expand their businesses.
The net result of higher taxes and radical regulations is represented by the millions of unemployed who are still looking for work, the families who have seen their incomes stall or fall and the tens of thousands of small businesses held back by the heavy hand of government and unable to grow.
Those who fail to see this naively call for progressive taxes and for all Americans to pay their “fair share.” This premise ignores two glaring problems.
First, our tax code is already progressive to the point that it becomes punitive. The top 1 percent of earners pay nearly 40 percent of all federal income taxes. Meanwhile, 49 percent of households pay no federal income taxes at all. And those who build their businesses or farms over a lifetime of hard work face a death tax so high that many of their children are forced to sell the family business just to pay it.
Second, the higher taxes that our liberal colleagues call for do nothing to stave off the rising waters of economic uncertainty. During the past 50 years, we have reduced income taxes from a top rate of more than 90 percent to 35 percent. History has shown that when tax rates are reduced, revenue to the federal Treasury increases because families have more money in their pockets and businesses have more money to invest in jobs.
Instead of trying to divide Americans by pitting one group against another, the president needs to work with us to prevent anyone from having their taxes increased, especially when most people understand that any new taxes would just be used to fund more Washington spending.
Now is not the time to kick the sandbags loose. The waters continue to rise, and Republicans and Democrats alike should stand shoulder to shoulder with every American fighting the rising waters of the failed Obama economy.
We need to come together to defend our nation against a flood of taxation and radical regulation that threaten the very principles on which this nation was founded. We have to say “enough is enough.” We have to stand up for hardworking taxpayers throughout America and push back against the calls for higher taxes, and we must do it now.
Washington doesn’t need to confiscate more of the taxpayers’ hard-earned income; Washington needs to start living within its means and stop blocking the opportunities for our nation’s innovators and job creators so they, too, can have a fair shot at the American dream.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.