After calling GT's office to object to any deal to raise either taxes or the debt ceiling, I received the following:
Thank you for contacting me with regard to the legal limit on federal
borrowing. I appreciate receiving your opinions on this very important
The United States Constitution grants Congress the sole power of the
purse, in order to fund government operations. Article 1, Section 8
also states that "Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes,
duties, imposts, and excises and to pay the debts of the United
States". While funding the federal government is carried out through
the annual appropriations process, Congress also has jurisdiction over
levying taxes and matters of federal liabilities. Prior to 1917,
Congress had to approve all governmental borrowing. To provide more
flexibility as the United States entered World War I, Congress agreed
to provide the federal government with approval for most types of
borrowing, within an established limit.
When the government's outputs exceed incoming tax revenue, the Treasury
sells debt to the public to offset the difference. Over time, the
annual deficit has attributed to the $14 trillion debt we now face.
While there are many on both sides of the political spectrum that will
point fingers, the United State Department of the Treasury has
presented the facts. Under President George W. Bush, the national debt
increased by $4.35 trillion over an eight year period and recently
under President Barack Obama an additional $3.9 trillion has been added
to debt since taking office in January of 2009. There has been
projected an additional $1.64 trillion before 2011 is over.
As of May 31, 2011, the $14.294 trillion debt ceiling was reached.
Since coming to Congress in 2009, I have consistently voted against
frivolous spending measures that compound Americas debt problem. While
some, including myself, have been signaling the alarm, reaching the
debt ceiling has now prompted mainstream concern over the United
States' ability to maintain a positive credit rating and has brought
the proposition of a debt limit increase to the forefront of budget
negotiation for Fiscal Year 2012. The current fiscal crisis presents a
serious challenge to the longevity of the American economy and will
require discipline and sacrifice - leaving no government program
without scrutiny. There are countless efficiencies to be made,
consolidations of redundant programs, and eliminations for outdated or
underperforming operations. It is imperative that the United States
begins to live within its means.
However, reductions will not be enough, mandatory spending on programs
such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security has been growing at an
unchecked rate and currently the programs account for nearly two thirds
of the annual budget. If entitlement growth remains unchecked it will
crowd out discretionary spending - such as education - and eventually
Medicare will also become insolvent. My Republican colleagues in the
House have been accused of attempting to "end Medicare as we know it".
This could not be further from the truth. Rather, various proposals
have aimed to extend the life of Medicare without altering the way the
program provides for any current beneficiaries. If fundamental
improvements are not made, Medicare will go bankrupt in the near
Many have suggested that to balance the budget, we should just levy new
taxes on those paying in upper brackets. While some argue that these
individuals need to "pay their fair share," according to the IRS, the
top 10% of American wage earners already pay 70% of all income taxes.
Furthermore, eliminating the Bush & Obama tax cuts for higher income
earners would generate about $70 billion per year for a ten year
period. Combined with the Administration's proposal to reduce the rate
at which itemized deductions lower tax liabilities, this would yield an
additional $30 billion per year over the same ten year period. In total
these proposals would generate $100 billion per year on average - or
only about one-sixteenth - of what is required to balance the budget.
This does not even begin to address the debt. Bottom line, I believe
this proposal to be a distraction and I will not engage in class
warfare. Rather than diverting attention to raising taxes during a
recession, we should be focused on the true issues at hand - curbing
out of control spending.
Recently, H.R. 1954 was introduced and would have increased the debt
limit to $16.7 trillion without instituting any attached reductions in
spending. I voted against this measure and the legislation was easily
defeated in the House of Representatives. Raising the debt ceiling
without significant structural spending reforms would send a signal to
the world that America lacks the political will to meet our fiscal
obligations. Furthermore, without exacting tangible spending reforms,
our credit rating will be downgraded, similar to Portugal or Greece,
eroding confidence in our economy and increasing uncertainty for
businesses and investors at home and abroad. For these many reasons, I
have also cosponsored H.J.Res.1, a constitutional amendment to require
an annual balance budget, similar to 49 states.
Since coming to Congress, I have worked tirelessly to be a responsible
steward of the taxpayer dollar and to promote fiscal responsibility.
Having the honor and privilege of serving you in the United States
Congress is not a responsibility that I take lightly. These issues are
pressing and will certainly define the next generation moving forward.
With that said, please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in
mind as the debt ceiling and the United States' fiscal situation
continues to be debated.
Again, thank you for contacting my office. For more information on my
policies and happenings around the 5th District, please visit my
website at www.thompson.house.gov, There you can sign up to
receive periodic updates via my e-newsletter, The Thompson Times.
Member of Congress
I wrote the following reply:
After contacting your office earlier today, I received an email containing the following statement:
"However, reductions will not be enough, mandatory spending on programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security has been growing at an unchecked rate and currently the programs account for nearly two thirds of the annual budget."
"Mandatory spending" is a ridiculous excuse. As a Congressman, your ONLY mandate is to uphold the Constitution, which was established to protect the rights of the people. If someone comes along and tries to convince you that stealing money by force from those same people to pay for "mandated" government programs is consistent with your oath, you should kick them out of your office!
No Congress can limit the powers of a future Congress. So, these so-called mandates are unconstitutional. This whole thing is an unjust, immoral scam against the American people, whose rights you are supposed to protect.
NOBODY has the right to steal from other people - and NOBODY has the right to elect a government and tell them to go steal money for them! This is true for taxes - which are theft when used for unconstitutional purposes - and for borrowing which is simply stealing from another generation.
Nothing in the Constitution allows for Social Security, Medicare, or any of these other Socialist programs, which do nothing other than transfer money from one citizen to another.
[This being said, I would not cut them off, but I would phase them out, slowly over the next ten or twenty years.]
If you want to solve our problems, you must address the underlying philosophy that a person's need justifies any act. If an act is immoral when an individual does it - it doesn't become moral when a government does it under the guise of Law, with a claim of Need. If this continues, we all become slaves to one another's need.
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt 1783
History has shown that Constitutional Republics fail when they abandon the principles of their constitution, in the same way and for the same reasons that we are doing right now.