Senator John ThuneThe Constitution was carefully written to make sure that the process by which the government raises and spends money was not too far removed from the people, which is why Congress is given the "power of the purse." As Congress prepares to write the budget for the next Fiscal Year, which begins on October 1, 2008, I hope that leaders in both the House and Senate pay considerable attention to what our nation truly needs.
There are many factors that are making times difficult for families today. Energy prices pose a serious challenge to families as well as recent economic uncertainty related to the housing sector.
Passing along a large tax increase to the American people is not wise, especially with the economic uncertainty that many Americans are feeling. However, raising taxes in the future is exactly what the Democrat proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2009 does, to the tune of $1.2 trillion.
On average, families in South Dakota would see a tax increase of $2,600. Across the nation, 43 million families and 18 million seniors would see their taxes go up. Additionally, the Democrat proposed budget fails to address out-of-control entitlement spending such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Without question, I believe there are things that the government needs to fund. Slow economic times, however, are not times when increasing taxes to pay for increased federal spending is a good idea. Under the currently proposed Democrat budget that the Senate will begin debating next week, spending would increase by nine percent over last year.
The budget process in Congress is always politically charged, and the rhetoric on both sides is heated. This is especially true in election years, and 2008 promises to be no different, particularly with the contentious presidential race already in full swing. It is my hope that Congress will be able to pull itself above election year gimmicks and work to pass a budget that restrains excess government spending.