On matters of policy, we can do better. This blog posting is fifth in a five-part series of policy comparisons between Mr. Moran and me. Part 1 of this series was on Traffic, part 2 was on Regulation, part 3 was on Immigration and part 4 was on the Economy.
Like his legislative colleagues who share in the all-time low approval rating, Mr. Moran has T.R.I.E.D. - Traffic, Regulation, Immigration, Economy and Debt – on critical issues but unfortunately failed. Passionate partisanship has painted many politicians into a political corner. I am running as an Independent to take responsibility for our biggest challenges. Helping reduce our debt is one important challenge I will tackle during my first term.
Debt is an ugly word that has caused a lot of ugly partisanship. We can do better.
It helps to know what exactly we’re talking about i.e. how much. As of October 31, 2012, we had $16,261,470,510,720.74 in debt. We hear about $16 Trillion in debt a lot but about 25% of that is debt we owe to the dedicated accounts of Medicare and Social Security (to ourselves). This is only important because in the years we “balanced the budget” in the 1990’s, we did so by borrowing from those dedicated accounts. Mr. Moran often recounts these years as years when he “crossed the aisle” to make a difference. Borrowing from Medicare and Social Security to balance our budget is not making a credible difference. We can do better.
With a $1 Trillion annual deficit, and the aforementioned $16 Trillion debt load we will not cut our way to both balancing the budget and paying off what we owe long term. Eventually, taxes will rise (a good financial planner will tell you this). I support taking some actions in the short term to buffer our still weak economy – like continued tax relief in 2013 – that I may not take in the long term to reduce our debt. We lose a few hundred million dollars in tax revenue each year due in part to complexity. During 2013 I will leverage my background in accounting to work with other legislators on comprehensive tax reform that will make the tax code more clear, defined and effective.
For example I will work to eliminate tax loopholes (i.e., co-sponsor H.R. 1935 to treat “Carried Interest” income as ordinary income rather than investment income (nearly $18 Billion in additional revenue over 10 years). But there’s even more we must do together. In 2013 I will encourage my colleagues in Congress to evaluate effective tax rates rather than marginal tax rates. The Tax Foundation reported in September that the average effective tax rate for all taxpayers is 10.1% and those who make more $250,000 effectively average 23% in income tax payments. Those making less than $30,000 actually pay an average, negative effective rate because they are refunded more than they’ve paid in. I do not believe in pitting one income group against another and we can see from the current data that our tax system is already progressive, as intended. The last major tax reform was 1986, nearly 30 years ago. This may sound unique, but I would enjoy getting into the weeds of tax compliance, payments, deductions and restrictions to create the “Tax Reform Act of 2013.”
The growth of the economy is a factor in reducing our debt. As I mentioned in my previous post, reducing the corporate tax rates paid for by reducing the corporate interest loophole is an idea I support. My expectation is that a corporate environment with less doubt about taxes and regulation – not removal of either but clarity – will encourage businesses to invest in the greatest country in the world.
And what about cutting federal government costs? I will work directly with the Government Accountability Office’s 2012 report to detail an organized plan for reducing the 51 areas of government program overlap. It is a non-partisan plan we need now. Over the long term, a plan to combine overlapping agencies, departments and reducing repetition is a vote for an even more effective government that leads the world in efficiency.
We have a simple debt problem –as a country we have too much of it. We need a serious citizen who is willing to cool the hot air, lower the volume and has a laser focus on effectiveness so we can do better. I have that drive, desire and during my first term we will do better.
For more information about our campaign, please visit VoteJasonHowell.com