Fix the Economy First

Our country faces serious economic challenges, and the top priority for Congress right now should be on the economy.
  As I carefully reviewed the budget President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have proposed, I note that they are spending billions of dollars to tackle the problems associated with health care, education, global warming and more.
  This is an aggressive agenda that Congress must address. But in attempting to do all of this at once, we run the real risk of doing many things poorly instead of focusing on one thing and doing it well. Now is the time to focus on our troubled economy, and until it stabilizes we should focus on the task at hand.
  Economic stability would in spire public confidence not only in the markets and across the business community but also, if done right, in the very govern ment institutions the president has tasked with righting the economy.
  I am concerned that the Oba ma- Pelosi aggressive reform agenda, along with increased deficits, could cause our economy to further deteriorate.
  The $3.6 trillion budget would increase spending dramatically over 2009 and assume $2.7 billion in revenue, leaving a $1.2 trillion deficit for 2010. And that deficit would continue every year at a record rate that would add $7 trillion over the next 10 years.
  To place that in perspective, in its first 200 years, this nation acquired $ 5.8 trillion in debt. The Obama-Pelosi budget plan projects that a robust economy would quickly return with higher revenues, cutting the deficit in half by 2013.
  The president’s reassuring words obscure the facts. The $533 billion deficit projected in 2013, some 3 percent of gross do mestic product, would still be greater than the largest deficit this country has ever incurred.
  All of this money would be borrowed against our children’s— and the nation’s — future.
  The two big-dollar items are health care and the cap-and trade of energy emissions. A new national energy tax (
aka cap and- trade) is also part of the Obama-Pelosi budget plan.
  The president’s cap-and-trade tax would cause sharp increases in the cost of electricity as electric companies would pass the added costs along to you, the consumer. The Environmental Protection Agency predicts a rise in electricity costs between 44 percent and 79 percent.
  An economic downturn is not the time to hit hard-working families and struggling busi nesses with such a devastating tax. It is clear to me that this ad ministration and the Democratic Party are set on a course that at tempts to do too much, too soon.
  The overhaul of our health care system as mandated in this budget would cost an uncertain, if not massive, amount of money. The budget would create a fund of $634 billion just as a down pay ment, which would mean tril­lions of dollars down the road.
  I recently heard “that if you think health care costs a lot now, wait until it’s free.” How true.
  So who would pay the trillions of new dollars for health care?
  The answer is in the budget. It would be small businesses that would pay increased taxes.
  There would be no immediate tax relief for middle-income families beyond the Earned In come Tax Credit refunds under the stimulus bill. There would be increases in the capital gains tax and limits on deductions for charitable giving and home mortgage interest. The tax on small businesses alone could cost a projected 1.6 million jobs.
With President Obama’s ap proval ratings high, I can under stand his desire to move his agenda quickly and aggressively.
Previous presidents have done the same. But with the U.S. economy teetering, this is not the time to engage in such radical policy changes.
Economic recovery ought to be our primary goal. Once that is accomplished, we can turn to other issues and find ways to in stitute needed reforms that will not jeopardize our economic growth.