And more government isnít going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs. Itís going to create uncertainty.
Because more government breeds complicated rules and laws that a small business canít afford to follow.
Because more government raises taxes on employers who then pass the costs on to their employees through fewer hours, lower pay and even layoffs.
And because many government programs that claim to help the middle class, often end up hurting them instead.
For example, Obamacare was supposed to help middle class Americans afford health insurance. But now, some people are losing the health insurance they were happy with. And because Obamacare created expensive requirements for companies with more than 50 employees, now many of these businesses arenít hiring. Not only that; theyíre being forced to lay people off and switch from full-time employees to part-time workers.
Now does this mean thereís no role for government? Of course not. It plays a crucial part in keeping us safe, enforcing rules, and providing some security against the risks of modern life. But governmentís role is wisely limited by the Constitution. And it canít play its essential role when it ignores those limits.
There are valid reasons to be concerned about the Presidentís plan to grow our government. But any time anyone opposes the Presidentís agenda, he and his allies usually respond by falsely attacking their motives.
When we point out that no matter how many job-killing laws we pass, our government canít control the weather ó he accuses us of wanting dirty water and dirty air.
When we suggest we strengthen our safety net programs by giving states more flexibility to manage them ó he accuses us of wanting to leave the elderly and disabled to fend for themselves.
And tonight, he even criticized us for refusing to raise taxes to delay military cuts ó cuts that were his idea in the first place.
But his favorite attack of all is that those who donít agree with him ó they only care about rich people.
Mr. President, I still live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors arenít millionaires. Theyíre retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare. Theyíre workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to work to pay the bills. Theyíre immigrants, who came here because they were stuck in poverty in countries where the government dominated the economy.
The tax increases and the deficit spending you propose will hurt middle class families. It will cost them their raises. It will cost them their benefits. It may even cost some of them their jobs.
And it will hurt seniors because it does nothing to save Medicare and Social Security.
So Mr. President, I donít oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors.
Hard-working middle class Americans who donít need us to come up with a plan to grow the government. They want a plan to grow the middle class.
Economic growth is the best way to help the middle class. Unfortunately, our economy actually shrank during the last three months of 2012.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.