The Corner

No Tax Increase in the Debt-Ceiling Deal


Republicans should reject the establishment’s demand for a tax increase. There is plenty of money to be saved from a bloated government without giving Washington one penny of higher taxes.

The pressures from the Washington establishment to raise taxes are unending. This has been true for at least 30 years.

When Pres. Ronald Reagan adopted the Kemp-Roth three-year tax cut, the establishment hated it. Both Democrats and Republicans in the establishment hated the idea of allowing the American people to keep their own money.

I was there and I fought the 1982 tax increase that the establishment had foisted on President Reagan. He presently figured out their game and rejected all other efforts to get him to raise taxes.

When Pres. George H. W. Bush pledged, “Read my lips, no new taxes,” the establishment was determined to force him into breaking his word. I led a majority of House Republicans in voting no when the tax increase came up in 1990.

When I was Speaker, we balanced the federal budget by cutting taxes to increase economic growth, reducing spending, and reforming government. These policies led to four straight years of balanced budgets and the repayment of over $400 billion in federal debt. Unemployment dropped from 5.6 percent to under 4 percent.

With more jobs, people left welfare, left unemployment compensation, left food stamps, left Medicaid, and went back to work taking care of their families and paying taxes.

This two-step process of reducing government spending and increasing government revenues was a major factor in our ability to balance the federal budget.

Now the establishment (both Republican and Democratic) is once again demanding tax increases.

Every conservative should say, firmly and loudly: NO.

America is over-spent, not under-taxed.

Today’s economic report should be the final blow against any tax increase. The unemployment rate went up to 9.2 percent as the Obama Depression deepened. Last month, a net of 18,000 new jobs were created for the entire country. That is about one new job for every 1,000 unemployed Americans.

To add insult to injury, on the day unemployment was announced as getting worse, the Obama administration’s EPA announced new rules to further raise costs for electricity and kill even more American jobs.

Under no circumstance should Republicans feel compelled to raise taxes. It would be economically irrational to raise taxes in this kind of weak economy.

What Congress should be doing is passing a Balanced Budget Amendment as Senators DeMint and Snowe suggested, cutting unnecessary spending through dramatically reducing fraud (maybe $120 plus billion a year), bringing private-sector management techniques to government that would eliminate vast layers of bureaucracy (between $125 billion and $500 billion a year), and creating an American energy policy to create American jobs and keep $400 billion plus a year here at home that is currently going overseas for energy. (See my paper on the debt ceiling at for more details.)

Republicans should not allow President Obama, the elite media, or the Washington establishment to bludgeon them into raising taxes. Instead, they should pass a spending cut, a savings bill, and a balanced budget amendment and dare President Obama to veto them.

It would be a good test of whether the president’s radical ideology is more important to him than avoiding the first federal-government default in American history.

Newt Gingrich — Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999.

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