America’s national debt sits above a staggering $19 trillion. That’s math we literally can’t even begin to comprehend, yet it’s not hard to understand why we should worry. Many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle think the solution to our debt crisis is to raise taxes. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, President Obama’s final budget calls for a $2.1 trillion tax increase on the American people. As we know, liberals’ solution to most problems is to take more money away from hard working Americans to spend as they see fit. I strongly disagree.
Americans are already taxed too much at every level because government has grown too large. We must cut spending and make government more efficient. We have a bloated Internal Revenue Service that has stooped to targeting citizens for their political beliefs instead of helping them navigate the maze of tax regulations forced upon them. The best solution is to eliminate the tax code altogether and replace it with a simple and fair tax rate.
That’s why I co-sponsored H.R. 25, the Fair Tax Act. This bill would establish a national sales tax that would scrap the entire tax code and replace it with a tax paid up front at the point of purchase. Under the Fair Tax Act, Americans keep every dime of their paycheck. Rather than pay an income tax, we would be taxed on purchases we choose to make. This system makes it harder to game the system and avoid paying taxes through loopholes. It also provides exemptions for purchases up to the poverty level to protect those most in need. Most importantly, the Fair Tax would take power away from the government and put it back into the hands of individual Americans and make April 15th just another day of the year, not the annual nightmare we face today.
We must get our fiscal house in order today so we don’t leave a legacy of debt for our children to pay off. House Republicans continue to advocate for policies that cut spending and restore fiscal sanity. This is not an easy task. It means forcing the federal government to live within its means like Texas and many other states are required to do. The only way to do that is through force. Left to its own devices, Congress continues to buck tough spending cuts down the road for someone else to deal with - both Democrats AND Republicans.
That’s why I also support a Balanced Budget Amendment to our Constitution. It is the only way to force Congress and the president to live within its means. We have incurred a shameful legacy of debt. We must carefully scrutinize every dollar the federal government spends and eliminate all extraneous spending. There are at least 15 different federal agencies studying climate change and several different agencies all fighting for taxpayer dollars to spend on economic development. The best way to develop and grow our economy is to get government out of the way – not add layer after layer of bureaucratic obstacles or wasteful government programs.
Cutting spending, simplifying our tax code, reducing government waste and living within our means are critical steps we must take before it’s too late. Hardworking American taxpayers deserve better.
Congressman Pete Olson represents Texas’ 22nd congressional district, serving southeastern Houston and suburbs since 2009. Olson is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he serves as Vice Chair of the Energy and Power Subcommittee and also serves on the Communication and Technology Subcommittee. Prior to Congress, he served in the United States Navy, transferred to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and was a naval liaison officer to the U.S. Senate. Later, he became a legislative aide for former Texas Senator Phil Gramm, and then the Chief of Staff for newly-elected Texas Senator John Cornyn.