McConnell: Reining in government spending my priority

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. Herald-Leader

I read the June 4 opinion piece, "Despite posturing, senator enabled government's growth," with amusement at the contention that America is in debt because they're not being taxed enough. It assumes every dollar earned in our economy is the sole property of the government and what the wage earner takes home is a secondary consideration the government decides based on its spending desires.

This view takes the position that those of us who believe government should work for the people rather than the other way around are the ones responsible for nearly $17 trillion in debt.

Liberals may be tired of hearing this, but until it gets through to the president and Washington Democrats, I won't get tired of saying it: this country does not have a larger-than-ever debt because we aren't taxing people enough. We have those problems because Washington is spending too much.

That's why I've stood up against the liberals in Washington who don't get it. For instance, the nation is nearly $17 trillion in debt, but the president's budget proposed no serious deficit reduction over the next decade. It does not prevent Medicare or Social Security from going bankrupt. And it never, ever balances. It was dismissed on arrival — by the president's own party.

The American people know that spending must be reined in. So did Democrats and Republicans in Congress when both parties voted to cut government spending by $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years with the Budget Control Act. We should not go back on this agreement or spend even a penny more than we promised.

Any Kentuckian will tell you it's completely ridiculous to think Washington can't find a way to cut 2 to 3 percent of the federal budget at a time when we're nearly $17 trillion in debt.

In this economy, I meet Kentuckians who have had to figure out how to make ends meet with a little bit less in their paychecks all too often. Are we saying Washington can't do the same? That's absurd.

Reducing taxes and letting hard-working Kentuckians keep more of their own money that they've earned is not part of the problem — it's part of the solution. That's why I supported passing tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, and I supported making them permanent in 2012. Despite what may be preached in the ivory towers and editorial pages of this state, the government does not have an automatic claim on every dollar earned in this economy, and when we have the chance to make sure the American people can keep more of their money, we should take it.

It should be obvious to all by now that government spending is not going to restore our economy to full strength. If it were, after the four-year spending binge of this administration, this economy would be booming. Instead, unemployment remains high at 7.5 percent, and in Kentucky it is even higher at 7.9 percent.

No, out-of-control government spending can't fix this mess. Only the American people can, with the energy and enterprise that has always powered the American economic engine. And it's a simple fact that allowing people to keep more of their money to spend and invest fuels this engine.

At issue: June 4 commentary by Ron Formisano,"Spendthrift Mitch; Despite posturing, senator enabled government's growth"

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