The Speech Boehner Should Give

I had a dream in which I saw House Speaker John Boehner give the following speech.

I'm sure you are all aware by now of the debt ceiling issue. If we do not pass legislation this week to raise the federal debt ceiling, the federal government will not be able to pay all its bills, starting next week. Much of government will have to shut down. The size and suddenness of these shut-downs and non-payments are horrible to contemplate. Nobody wants that to happen.

But to simply raise the ceiling and keep on doing what we have been doing is irresponsible. Deficits have been over $1 trillion since 2009 and are expected to exceed that again in 2012. We know in the House, and our counterparts in the Senate and White House know, that we are on an unsustainable fiscal path. There is no fuzz on that, no disagreement.

Our constituents, the American people, are telling us they are more concerned about the risks of doing business as usual than about the risks of not raising the ceiling. And I agree with them.

To raise the debt ceiling without also taking real steps to put us on a sustainable path would be shirking our responsibility as elected representatives.

There have been attempts to put us on a sustainable path. President Obama appointed a bipartisan commission. That effort bore no fruit: its own members did not approve its proposals, and President Obama did not adopt them.

President Obama then tasked Vice President Biden to form another commission on the budget. That effort also bore no fruit. We have met behind closed doors with our Senate and White House counterparts, all to no avail.

In these closed-door discussions, our counterparts would only accept plans that significantly increased taxes -- at least as far as we could understand their plans.  Our opinion on that is this. When you need your horse to pull your wagon out of the ditch, at some point you should stop whipping the horse and start unloading the wagon.

We need to stop whipping the productive forces in our economy with new taxes and regulations and constantly changing rules, and start unloading our spending wagon.

It has become clear to my House colleagues that the time for closed-door meetings and extra-constitutional commissions is over. We need to get back to the kinds of government processes we all learned in grade school civics.

As Speaker, I assure you that we in the House of Representatives will do our job as described in the Constitution. We have a bill drafted to increase the debt ceiling and to set our federal finances on a new path. We will release the contents of that bill today, and I will call a vote on it the day after tomorrow, after our members, the press and the public have had a chance to read it and consider it.

Then we will see if we can make that bill become a law, just as described in civics classes.

Let me first say what is in the bill. It will raise the debt ceiling. The federal government will be able to pay all its bills this August. In fact, the ceiling would be high enough that the government would be able to pay all its bills into 2013. There would be no need for another debt ceiling vote until those elected in 2012 take their seats in 2013. The near-term financial crises would be averted.

The bill also reduces government spending below projected levels by the same amount, over ten years, as the increased debt ceiling - two trillion dollars.

I will be honest with you: this Congress cannot impose its will on future Congresses. We cannot assure you that future Congresses would make any promised spending cuts beyond fiscal year 2012.

That is why our bill contains real, and significant, spending cuts in 2012. Our bill reduces 2012 spending by $400 billion. The 2012 budget would be approximately $3.3 trillion, or about 10% more than it was in 2008, instead of the 25% as currently projected.

To borrow the words of President Obama, we propose "spending cuts that will make the government leaner, meaner, more effective, more efficient, and give taxpayers a greater bang for their buck." Our bill starts that immediately.

In President Clinton's last year in office, the federal government spent just 18% of the economy. In no year under President Bush did it spend as much as 21%. This year, it is spending over 25% of the economy.

In our bill, federal spending would be 21% of the economy. Yes, that is less than what had been planned. But it is more than in any of the 14 years between 1994 and 2009, under both President Clinton and President Bush. This not only can be done; it must be done.

Now let me tell you what is not in the bill. We have left out the most controversial and contentious proposals you might have heard about. We believe these proposals have no chance of passing the House and Senate and also getting the President's signature by August 2.

Therefore, this debt ceiling bill does not include a Balanced Budget Amendment. Nor does it include long-term entitlement reform. Nor does it include tax reform. We would love to do these things, but realistically, none of them could pass the House, Senate and President by August 2.

Our bill also does not include any tax rate increases or other so-called revenue enhancements. We simply propose reasonable spending cuts in exchange for trillions of dollars in increased borrowing authority.

We in the House of Representatives believe entitlement reform is necessary to bring future budgets into balance and to put us on a sustainable path. We believe comprehensive tax reform and predictable tax laws are necessary to bring about the economic growth that must occur for any plan to be successful.

But the House of Representatives is only one half of one of the three branches of government. We cannot do these things on our own. These issues will ultimately have to be decided by the American people.

In 2012 the American people will get to choose between two futures.  As my colleague, Paul Ryan, said, "We can continue to go down the path toward shared scarcity, or we can choose the path of renewed prosperity."

Randall Hoven can be contacted at randall.hoven@gmail.com or via his website, randallhoven.com.

I had a dream in which I saw House Speaker John Boehner give the following speech.

I'm sure you are all aware by now of the debt ceiling issue. If we do not pass legislation this week to raise the federal debt ceiling, the federal government will not be able to pay all its bills, starting next week. Much of government will have to shut down. The size and suddenness of these shut-downs and non-payments are horrible to contemplate. Nobody wants that to happen.

But to simply raise the ceiling and keep on doing what we have been doing is irresponsible. Deficits have been over $1 trillion since 2009 and are expected to exceed that again in 2012. We know in the House, and our counterparts in the Senate and White House know, that we are on an unsustainable fiscal path. There is no fuzz on that, no disagreement.

Our constituents, the American people, are telling us they are more concerned about the risks of doing business as usual than about the risks of not raising the ceiling. And I agree with them.

To raise the debt ceiling without also taking real steps to put us on a sustainable path would be shirking our responsibility as elected representatives.

There have been attempts to put us on a sustainable path. President Obama appointed a bipartisan commission. That effort bore no fruit: its own members did not approve its proposals, and President Obama did not adopt them.

President Obama then tasked Vice President Biden to form another commission on the budget. That effort also bore no fruit. We have met behind closed doors with our Senate and White House counterparts, all to no avail.

In these closed-door discussions, our counterparts would only accept plans that significantly increased taxes -- at least as far as we could understand their plans.  Our opinion on that is this. When you need your horse to pull your wagon out of the ditch, at some point you should stop whipping the horse and start unloading the wagon.

We need to stop whipping the productive forces in our economy with new taxes and regulations and constantly changing rules, and start unloading our spending wagon.

It has become clear to my House colleagues that the time for closed-door meetings and extra-constitutional commissions is over. We need to get back to the kinds of government processes we all learned in grade school civics.

As Speaker, I assure you that we in the House of Representatives will do our job as described in the Constitution. We have a bill drafted to increase the debt ceiling and to set our federal finances on a new path. We will release the contents of that bill today, and I will call a vote on it the day after tomorrow, after our members, the press and the public have had a chance to read it and consider it.

Then we will see if we can make that bill become a law, just as described in civics classes.

Let me first say what is in the bill. It will raise the debt ceiling. The federal government will be able to pay all its bills this August. In fact, the ceiling would be high enough that the government would be able to pay all its bills into 2013. There would be no need for another debt ceiling vote until those elected in 2012 take their seats in 2013. The near-term financial crises would be averted.

The bill also reduces government spending below projected levels by the same amount, over ten years, as the increased debt ceiling - two trillion dollars.

I will be honest with you: this Congress cannot impose its will on future Congresses. We cannot assure you that future Congresses would make any promised spending cuts beyond fiscal year 2012.

That is why our bill contains real, and significant, spending cuts in 2012. Our bill reduces 2012 spending by $400 billion. The 2012 budget would be approximately $3.3 trillion, or about 10% more than it was in 2008, instead of the 25% as currently projected.

To borrow the words of President Obama, we propose "spending cuts that will make the government leaner, meaner, more effective, more efficient, and give taxpayers a greater bang for their buck." Our bill starts that immediately.

In President Clinton's last year in office, the federal government spent just 18% of the economy. In no year under President Bush did it spend as much as 21%. This year, it is spending over 25% of the economy.

In our bill, federal spending would be 21% of the economy. Yes, that is less than what had been planned. But it is more than in any of the 14 years between 1994 and 2009, under both President Clinton and President Bush. This not only can be done; it must be done.

Now let me tell you what is not in the bill. We have left out the most controversial and contentious proposals you might have heard about. We believe these proposals have no chance of passing the House and Senate and also getting the President's signature by August 2.

Therefore, this debt ceiling bill does not include a Balanced Budget Amendment. Nor does it include long-term entitlement reform. Nor does it include tax reform. We would love to do these things, but realistically, none of them could pass the House, Senate and President by August 2.

Our bill also does not include any tax rate increases or other so-called revenue enhancements. We simply propose reasonable spending cuts in exchange for trillions of dollars in increased borrowing authority.

We in the House of Representatives believe entitlement reform is necessary to bring future budgets into balance and to put us on a sustainable path. We believe comprehensive tax reform and predictable tax laws are necessary to bring about the economic growth that must occur for any plan to be successful.

But the House of Representatives is only one half of one of the three branches of government. We cannot do these things on our own. These issues will ultimately have to be decided by the American people.

In 2012 the American people will get to choose between two futures.  As my colleague, Paul Ryan, said, "We can continue to go down the path toward shared scarcity, or we can choose the path of renewed prosperity."

Randall Hoven can be contacted at randall.hoven@gmail.com or via his website, randallhoven.com.

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