Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

Strengthening America's economy

August 28, 2015
Op-Ed


Strengthening America's economy
Rep. Pete Olson 08/27/2015 6:17 pm

America’s national debt sits above a staggering $18 trillion. That’s math we literally can’t even begin to comprehend, yet it’s not hard to understand why we should worry.  A big reason to worry is looking at who holds our debt. It’s not stakeholders in the US, but countries like Japan and China. Just look at the large drop in the stock market last week in reaction to China’s devaluation of its currency. In the 21st century, the health of China’s economy is closely linked to the health of our economy.

Many of my friends on the other side of the aisle think the solution to our debt crisis is to raise taxes. If we are being honest, we know that liberals’ solution to most problems is to take more money away from hard working Americans to spend as they see fit. I strongly disagree.

Americans are already taxed too much at every level because government has grown too large. We must cut spending and make government more efficient. We have a bloated Internal Revenue Service that has stooped to targeting citizens for their political beliefs instead of helping them navigate the maze of tax regulations forced upon them.  The best solution is to eliminate the code altogether and replacing it with a simple and fair tax rate.

That’s why I support the Fair Tax Act, a bill to establish a national sales tax that would end the entire tax code completely and replace it with a tax paid up front at the point of purchase. Under the Fair Tax Act, Americans keep every dime of their paycheck. Rather than pay an income tax, we would be taxed on purchases we choose to make. This system makes it harder to game the system and avoid paying taxes through loopholes. It also provides exemptions for purchases up to the poverty level to protect those most in need.  Most importantly, the Fair Tax would take power away from the government and put it back into the hands of individual Americans and make April 15th just another day of the year, not the annual nightmare we face today. 

America must get our fiscal house in order today so we don’t leave a legacy of debt for our children to pay off. House Republicans have passed budgets each year that would turn our spending trajectory down and restore fiscal sanity. This will not be easy. It means forcing the federal government to live within its means like Texas and many other states are required to do. The only way to do that is through force. Left to its own devices, the federal government will buck tough spending cuts down the road for someone else to deal with. And that includes both Democrats AND Republicans.

That’s why I also support a Balanced Budget Amendment to our Constitution. It is literally the only way to force Congress and the president to live within its means. The legacy of debt we have incurred is shameful. We must take a long hard look at what the federal government spends taxpayer dollars on and cut out all extraneous spending. There are at least 15 different federal agencies studying climate change and several different agencies all fighting for taxpayer dollars to spend on economic development. The best way to develop and grow our economy is to get government out of the way – not add layer after layer of bureaucratic obstacles or wasteful government programs.

Cutting spending, simplifying our tax code, reducing government waste and living within our means are critical steps we must take before it’s too late. We cannot continue to spend like there is no tomorrow and keep our economic health tied to countries like China.