Saturday, March 17, 2012

Congressman Rick Crawford Responds to ARRA News Service

Rep. Rick Crawford
Bill Smith, ARRA News Service EditorIn response to ARRA News Service’s request for comment, Arkansas First District Congressman Rick Crawford (R-Jonesboro) submitted the below note summarizing his The Shared Responsibility in Preserving America’s Future Act. It is provided without editorial comment.
I have read many of your comments and wanted to take a minute to explain the purpose for the legislation I will introduce next week.  The premise behind the bill is not that we need more revenue (taxes) in America.  I wholeheartedly believe our problem is with spending.

However, we must think strategically about how we move forward as a country.  I haven’t met anyone who believes America can continue borrowing trillions annually.  It is an indisputable fact our country will face economic calamity if we do not end the spending binge in Congress.

The question is how do we accomplish this mission?  Having served in the military, I understand the need for strategic planning based on real-time in-theater intelligence gathering.

As I see it, the success probability for our mission to keep taxes low decreases significantly as the size of our national debt continues to skyrocket.  Likewise, our mission to limit the size of government will surely be an abject failure if we do not implement permanent reforms that require Congress to balance its budget yearly or limit spending as a percentage of GDP.

How then do we accomplish our conservative mission?  It most certainly cannot be done by raising taxes or by agreeing to temporary spending cuts, which is the current strategy of most Republicans.  I have a newsflash – Republicans balanced the budget in the mid to late 1990s and the problem is worse today than in almost any other time in history.  Why?  Absent permanent budget reform government will grow ever larger and taxes will eventually skyrocket.

Looking forward there are a few scenarios that are likely to play out.  Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has united most of her members in Washington behind a strategy to position the debate to reduce the deficit as shared sacrifice (i.e. cuts to ‘vital’ programs for the poor and middle class coupled with tax increases on the wealthy).   As has been reported widely, many Republicans in the House and Senate (members of the gangs of 6 and 100) are privately contemplating a compromise that would involve tax hikes and spending reductions.  From my standpoint, this is more of the same absent permanent budget reform.

A second scenario is for Republicans to hold out and insist on a spending-cut only strategy.  To be successful, however, one must assume the Republican members of the gangs of 6 and 100 will have a change of heart and will not strike a deal to accept tax increases in return for temporary spending cuts.  I invite you to ask yourself how much confidence you have that Republicans in Congress will hold firm and not accept tax increases in exchange for temporary spending cuts?  If you do, I have some nice beach-front property in Black Oak I would like to sell.

All kidding aside, even if Republicans were to hold firm, Senate Democrats will never give in because their polling shows their position has stronger support than a spending-cut only strategy.  Republican know this, which is so many are working behind the scenes to strike a deal – a bad deal in my humble opinion that exchanges tax increases for temporary spending cuts.

The bill I am introducing takes into account the political realities and is an attempt to change the mindset of Republicans so that we do not get snookered once again by accepting temporary spending cuts while claiming “victory.” I believe we should only accept a tax increase in exchange for permanent budget reform that will never allow Congress to spend our country into oblivion.

Congressman Rick Crawford

Tags: Rick Crawford, US House, Congressman, Arkansas, response to request, Shared Responsibility in Preserving America’s Future Act, ARRA News Service

1 comment:

John Allison said...

Congressman Rick Crawford called me this morning to explain his position on the proposed millionaires' tax. The call followed some pretty harsh comments I made on several articles, blog posts, and Facebook pages last night when I learned of his proposal. He explained to me why he made this move and why he does not consider it an abandonment of conservative principles. Actually, he sees it as a path to an even stronger conservative solution to our country's woes. Though I still disagree with his position, I no longer believe he's taking this stance to pander to Democrats.

It is Congressman Crawford's belief this is the only way to get enough Democrats to pass a balanced budget amendment, which he considers the cornerstone necessary to build a sound fiscal policy that is essential if our country is to survive. Democrat votes are necessary because even some Republicans oppose a balanced budget amendment. Republicans who voted against a balanced budget amendment brought up in the house last fall claimed it would increase the likelihood of higher taxes and bigger government. That is because it lacked a spending cap as a percentage of GDP and a requirement for a majority to increase taxes.

Crawford told me he wants both the cap and the super majority in a balanced budget amendment, but believes the only way to get enough Democrat support to pass such a bill is to agree to temporary, targeted tax cuts like those he has proposed. He believes also that a failure to compromise would lead to more dire consequences. Crawford said he ran the numbers and any government shutdown actually costs more than it does to operate. He also expressed a desire to find a solution to our budget and debt crisis before we are forced to accept even further cuts to our military.

Personally, I believe any compromise that increases taxes will only give ammunition to liberals who wish to redistribute wealth, but I can respect that he believes the move is necessary. I have often made the statement that I can respect a man even when I disagree with him. After speaking with Congressman Crawford today, I realize we have a serious disagreement on this issue. But I do believe he is following his conscience in the pursuit of conservative principles, namely that of a balanced budget amendment.

I hope and pray that a balanced budget amendment does pass, with a spending cap and a super majority required to increase taxes. Though I do not believe an increase in taxes will cause that to happen, Crawford believes it to be the quickest, surest way to accomplish that.

We both want to arrive at the same destination, we just have a difference of opinion on the best route to take to get there. I can respect that and Rick Crawford will have my support this fall.