Wednesday, April 18, 2012

GUEST COLUMN: "Tax Freedom Day Useful, But Doesn’t Tell Whole Story"

Rep. Jean Schmidt
By U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt,
Ohio’s Second Congressional District

Tuesday (April 17) was not just the deadline to file federal tax returns. Ironically, it was also Tax Freedom Day.

That means the typical American has spent every working day so far this year earning just enough money to pay off his or her federal, state, and local tax bills, according to the Tax Foundation.

While Tax Freedom Day is a useful measure of the average tax burden, it doesn’t tell the entire story.

Unfortunately, the federal government spends far more than it receives in tax revenue. This year, the budget deficit is projected to be more than $1 trillion. The Tax Foundation estimates that if we were to raise taxes to actually pay for all federal spending, Tax Freedom Day would not arrive until May 14.

Working 107 days just to pay taxes is too much. But if President Obama gets his way, it will not get better any time soon. Under the administration’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2013, we will have our fourth consecutive budget deficit surpassing $1 trillion. In fact, federal spending in 2013, under the president’s budget, would be 27.5% more than it was in 2008.

And, the president would increase the tax burden from 15.4% of gross domestic product in 2011 to 20.1% in 2022. The gross domestic product is the total value of goods produced and services provided in our country in a year. What that boils down to is this: The president’s budget would impose a $200,000 debt burden on every American household.

This isn’t the time for gimmicks like the so-called Buffet Rule, which is designed only to gain a political advantage. We need to begin discussing serious proposals to bring federal spending under control.

The House, with my support, passed a budget resolution that would put the country on firmer financial ground. It would, among other things, cut spending by $5 trillion relative to the president’s budget and eliminate the budget deficit in 10 years. The president, on the other hand, has offered only more of the same, feckless proposals – wasteful stimulus spending, increased deficits, and higher taxes.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, we have a budget problem not because we tax too little, but because we spend too much.

And the best way to fix deficits, and debts, is not to tax more, but to spend less.