This week the House of Representatives will take the first real step in addressing our looming fiscal crisis by bringing “ The Path to Prosperity ,” a budget resolution for next year and beyond, to the House floor. This budget offers a clear contrast to the president’s speech on Wednesday .
It offers a contrast in credibility. Unlike the president’s speech, which was rhetorically heated but substantively hollow, our budget contains specific solutions for confronting the debt and averting the most predictable crisis in our nation’s history. It also offers a contrast in visions. Unlike the speech, our budget advances a vision of America in which government both keeps its promises to seniors and lives within its means.
Two months ago, President Obama submitted a budget for fiscal 2012 that did not deal with the major sources of government spending while calling for much higher taxes on American businesses and families. This budget was widely panned as lacking seriousness.
Now comes a deficit speech that doesn’t even rise to the level of a plan. Missing was a credible way to curb out-of-control spending. Instead, the president called for greater reliance on government price controls, which would strictly limit the health-care options of current seniors while failing to control costs. The president would couple this approach with $1 trillion in tax increases, which would destroy jobs and hurt the economy.
We cannot accept an approach that starts from the premise that ever-higher levels of spending and taxes represent America’s new normal. We have an obligation to fulfill the mission of health and retirement security for current retirees and future generations. We have a historic commitment to limited government and free enterprise. And we have a duty to leave the next generation with a more prosperous nation than the one we inherited.
The House Republican budget keeps America’s promises to seniors and those near retirement by making no changes to their current arrangements. It keeps America’s promises of health and retirement security for future generations by saving and strengthening our most important programs. And it keeps a promise that is implicit in our form of government: that a government instituted to secure our rights must be a limited government.
That is why “The Path to Prosperity” prevents spending and taxes from rising steadily to unprecedented levels, as they are currently projected to do. Doing otherwise would leave our children a nation that is less prosperous, less free and much deeper in debt.
If you are someone who agrees with the president that we cannot avoid this outcome without resorting to large tax increases, know this: No amount of taxes can keep pace with the amount of money government is projected to spend on health care in the coming years. Medicare and Medicaid are growing twice as fast as the economy — and taxes cannot rise that fast without a devastating impact on jobs and growth.