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Congressman Adrian Smith

Representing the 3rd District of Nebraska

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Taxing More is Not the Answer

June 14, 2019
Column

Federal revenue continued at near-record highs in 2018, at $3.33 trillion. Unfortunately, this amount was not enough to cover the $4.2 trillion in spending last year, further exacerbating our $22 trillion in national debt. As President Ronald Reagan said, “The problem is not that the people are taxed too little. The problem is that government spends too much.”

Americans are being taxed enough already; it is well past time to get serious about reining in spending. Unfortunately, some in Congress have reached a different conclusion. We have seen multiple demands to raise taxes on middle class Americans to pay for new one-size-fits-all federal benefits. There have been proposals to raise taxes on Social Security, gasoline, firearms, carbon emissions, and even to repeal the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. 

This week, in the Committee on Ways and Means, on which I serve, a hearing was held on unprecedented tax increases as a part of a “Medicare for All” plan. Currently, 158 million Americans have their health care through employer-sponsored coverage – more than Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare combined. Through this proposal, every one of these hardworking Americans would have to give up their current health care, and instead be lumped into a single government-run health care plan. More than a million people in the state of Nebraska – more than half of our population – would be forced to give up their current coverage.

Instead of obtaining insurance through your employer or choosing a plan for your family, this system would be funded by us, the taxpayers. The estimated cost for Medicare for All is $32 trillion, on top of current government health care spending. If taxes were increased on every American by twice what they pay now, it would still not be enough to cover an additional $25,000 in taxes per household needed for this plan.

In the House Budget Committee this week, a hearing was held on climate change proposals, including the “Green New Deal.” Cost estimates for this proposal have reached up to $93 trillion, or more than four times our current federal debt.

The cost to taxpayers would be enormous – $60,000 per year for every family in the U.S. – to pay the cost of unobtainable goals such as becoming 100 percent powered by renewable energy in the next ten years. Currently, renewables accounts for 11 percent of the United States energy consumption. On top of increased taxes, this drastic change would result in electric bills rising to $3,800 per year per household.

I agree we must look for new solutions to our nation’s greatest challenges. I reject the idea of the American people being undertaxed. We need to look toward free-market solutions to solve these issues – not new government-run mandates and insurmountable debt. Both parties have the common goal of our nation’s success. It is our duty to find common ground, and come to the table to solve the issues facing our nation.

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