U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais
On Feb. 12, President Barack Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union address and laid out a vision for his second term.
I was hoping that after winning re-election, Obama would move toward the middle and put forth sound, bipartisan solutions to tackle the serious obstacles facing this nation.
Unfortunately, all that the American people heard was more of the same partisan rhetoric: higher taxes, more spending and bigger government.
Clearly, Obama still fails to realize the greatest threat facing our nation is the deficit spending that has led to more than $16 trillion of debt and created an environment that keeps businesses from creating badly needed jobs.
In the 59 minutes Obama spoke during his address, the federal government spent $404 million and the national debt went up $123.5 million. Yet, out of his 6419-word speech, Obama only mentioned our debt twice.
Business owners in Tennessee tell me repeatedly that they know today’s deficit spending will have to be paid for with tomorrow’s tax increases. The great uncertainty this creates causes them to keep capital on the sidelines, rather than investing it in their organizations in the form of new equipment or more workers.
But, Obama simply fails to grasp this concept.
He believes that Washington, D.C., holds all the answers and we just need more government. He cleverly disguises his desire to pay for this government expansion behind thinly veiled calls for a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction in the form of tax increases and spending cuts.
The truth is he already received $660 billion in additional tax revenues as part of the fiscal cliff deal and a trillion dollars in taxes from Obamacare. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office reported that government revenues will hit record highs for 2013. But rather than using this revenue to pay down our debt, the administration uses it to pay for more government spending.
And while he got his tax revenues, he refuses to state what spending cuts he will support.
Since taking office four short years ago, Obama has added $5.8 trillion dollars to the debt.
What did taxpayers get for all of this money?
Unemployment increased from 7.8 percent to 7.9 percent, the number of people no longer in the labor force has increased 8.5 million, the average cost of a family health insurance plan has risen by $7,353, and the average cost of a gallon of gasoline has gone from $1.90 to $3.61.
We know we must act, but Obama refuses to work with anybody on deficit reduction.
The president said he would not support a bipartisan balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution because he believes “we don’t need a constitutional amendment to do our jobs.”
When Republicans in the House of Representatives passed two budgets that would gradually end the deficit spending, Obama said we were imposing “a radical vision on our country.”
His own deficit commission, Simpson-Bowles, put forth a plan that he completely ignored. That plan called for common sense spending cuts.
Now is the time for the president to finally address the seriousness of our national debt and its threat to our economy.
The election is over.
Now is the time for leadership.
Currently, every man, woman and child owes more than $52,000 on our $16 trillion debt. We need to move beyond the failed policies of the past and work together to prevent our children and grandchildren from inheriting a country that is less prosperous than the one we received from our parents and grandparents.