Thank you,Mr. Chairman. It’s nice to be back here with you for the first hearing ofthe Subcommittee this year.
During his1986 State of the Union Address, President Ronald Reagan said, “[G]overnment’sview of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, taxit. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving,subsidize it.”
I thinkthose words echo in the minds of this country’s job creators as we sit heretoday. Businesses – large domestic employers, American businesses tryingto compete around the globe, individual entrepreneurs, and small businessowners, the driving force of our economy – find themselves under incrediblepressure. A good portion of it is certainly a result of the globalrecession we find ourselves working to claw our way out of.
But I cantell you, Mr. Chairman, that another source of that pressure is what they seecoming out of Washington, D.C. in the form of more taxes, more spending, moreentitlements, and more regulation.
If you’llindulge me for a moment, let me tell you exactly what I mean. A few weeksago I met with a business owner in my district. Ten years ago he borrowedall the money he could from friends and relatives, mortgaged his house to thehilt, and started a business in his garage. Today, that business employs300 people; and yes, he pays taxes.
He told methat now – just ten years later, faced with the same choice – he would nevertake the same chance he did at success. Based on the policies he seesthis congress considering today, the risk is far greater than thereward.
I know thereare vast differences of opinion between your side of the aisle and mine on thetopic of taxes and spending. But the simple fact is that we can’t taxourselves out of this situation; to try to do so won’t make our smallbusinesses more competitive here at home, won’t help American companies withworldwide operations compete against their foreign counterparts, and won’tencourage would-be entrepreneurs and innovators to take the leap.
Historicaldata makes it clear; we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spendingproblem. In fact, over the past 40 years, total revenues have averagedapproximately 18.2 percent of gross domestic product while outlays haveaveraged 20.7 percent.
There ishuge concern about record budget deficits in both the short and long-term – Ithink we all agree on that.
As you notedwhen announcing today’s hearing the decision to raise or lower taxes initiateswithin the Ways and Means Committee. You also noted the committee hasjurisdiction over many federal spending programs. While it may not proveto be the focus of today’s hearing, I certainly hope that ways to slow thegrowth of federal entitlement spending will factor into future discussions.
Thank youagain, Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing today and thank you to ourwitnesses. We look forward to your testimony.