Early Wednesday afternoon, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives adjourned for a very long weekend. No business will be conducted until Tuesday. One would never know, based on this leisurely schedule, that the country is facing a fiscal crisis.
Also on Wednesday, Rep. Tom Reed sent his constituents and “E-Gram” expressing his frustration with President Obama’s plan to avoid the January 1 fiscal cliff by allowing tax rates to rise on households earning more than $250,000 per year combined with spending cuts. Rep. Reed opined that “the White House wants more taxes on our small business,” mis-stating the President’s proposal, which focuses on higher tax rates for wealthy individuals – the top 2%.
Our congressman added that “We remain committed to protecting our small businesses, – our region’s number one job creator. The problem is too much federal spending.” This is a curious contention, since businesses large and small benefit from federal spending in myriad ways. Federal spending is especially important at a time when the economy is slow and job growth is desperately needed. That’s why President Obama included $50 billion in stimulus spending as part of his proposal.
Once the economy and employment are growing, tax revenues will increase and the deficit will fade as a problem. That’s what happened during the Democratic Administration of President Bill Clinton, the last to achieve a balanced budget.
Friday’s favorable Labor Department report on job creation and a declining unemployment rate give real hope that a pattern of growth is taking hold. The last thing the country needs is a fall off the fiscal cliff that would stifle growth and likely bring on another recession.
Let’s hope that when Tom Reed gets back to work on Tuesday, he starts to take actions that will genuinely benefit his constituents, including small businesses and the unemployed. A good place to start would be to sign the discharge petition to force a House vote S. 3412, The Middle Class Tax Cut Act. On this, see our previous post.