On Amendment to the Budget H.Con.Res. 85
House Chamber, Washington, D.C. April 2, 2009 Mme. Chairman: I feel one of those rare bi-partisan moments coming on. Throughout these budget debates, my friends on the Left keep saying that our problems are rooted in the fiscal mismanagement of the Bush Administration. The Gentleman from Virginia just presented a chart titled, “Record Deterioration of the Budget Under the Republican Administration.”
I agree. There’s no denying it. George W. Bush increased spending twice as fast as Bill Clinton. He turned a budget surplus into a chronic deficit.
But if we all agree that Bush spent too much and borrowed too much, then why in the world would we want to pursue the same folly on a far greater scale?
Why would we take the Bush Administration’s unsustainable rate of spending growth and send it even higher?
Why would we take that budget deficit and triple it?
If budgets that spend too much and borrow too much are the road to economic prosperity, then why aren’t we enjoying a period of unprecedented economic expansion?
The fact is, these policies don’t work, and it doesn’t matter whether the President is a Democrat or a Republican.
They don’t work because government cannot inject a single dollar into the economy that it has not first taken out of the economy.
They don’t work for the same reason that you can’t spend yourself rich or borrow your way out of debt or tax your way to prosperity.
If you want to know where these policies lead – just look to my home state of California.
Three governors – Republican and Democrat – did exactly what my friends on the left assure us is the road to recovery.
They increased spending at unsustainable rates, they ran up unprecedented debts and they imposed crushing new taxes.
And the result is that today, California has been transformed from the nation’s Golden State to a state of collapse.
A record level of government spending has not produced prosperity. It has produced one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
Interest costs driven by years of borrowing are now eating its budget alive.
Its tax burden is producing a population exodus unknown since the days of the dust bowl.
In fact, the state has spent so much that it has just imposed the biggest tax increase by any state in American history.
The state has borrowed so much that it is now in very real danger of defaulting on its obligations before the end of the summer.
The President and the Democrats in Congress are making exactly the same mistake that the Bush Administration made and that three California governors made, only on a much greater scale.
Perhaps at a moment like this, it is time that we recognized the first law of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging.