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Wicker: Financial Stewardship Is Needed in Washington

images-1Tax Day on April 15 is not a date Americans look forward to on the calendar. At nearly 74,000 pages, the complex tax code and its related regulations cause unnecessary frustration and stress. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate, Americans spend 6.1 billion hours and $168 billion to file their taxes each year.

Shortly following Tax Day is Tax Freedom Day, devised by the nonprofit Tax Foundation to gauge the magnitude of Americans’ tax obligation from year to year. April 21 represents the date this year on which taxpayers have collectively earned enough money to cover our country’s tax bill. Put another way, it takes nearly four months for Americans to pay all federal, state, and local taxes.
High Debt Threatens Job Growth, National Security
The federal government has an obligation to use Americans’ tax dollars wisely, which is why the tax-and-spend policies of the Obama Administration are so troubling. The President’s failed stimulus carried a price tag of nearly $1 trillion, with government funds wasted on now-bankrupt boondoggles like Solyndra. His signature health-care law, rammed through Congress by Democratic super majorities without a single Republican vote, is costing an estimated $1.4 trillion, yet it will leave 31 million Americans uninsured over the next decade. Hardly the beacon of a sustainable economic recovery or true health-care reform, President Obama’s big-government agenda has instead worsened the debt crisis.
A $17.6 trillion national debt demands urgent fiscal restraint from Washington. Job growth, for example, diminishes when the debt skyrockets, as employers refrain from hiring and making new investments. National security is also jeopardized, as other countries become skeptical about America’s capacity to lead.
Meanwhile, interest on the debt, which is expected to be $233 billion this year, continues to accumulate. When interest rates increase, as they inevitably will, the risk that the Treasury will be unable to meet its debt obligations is all too real – threatening to strain the budgets of families and businesses even more. Americans understand the reality that they and their children will have to pay higher taxes because of the government’s out-of-control spending and borrowing.
442 Tax Hikes Proposed During Obama Administration
President Obama did not allay these concerns with his Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal, which calls for 93 new taxes. According to the advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform, the President has sought 442 tax hikes since he took office. His health-care law, in particular, is responsible for at least $1 trillion in tax increases over the next decade.
One tax that some Americans will see next April 15 is the health-care law’s individual mandate tax, which penalizes individuals who do not purchase health insurance. Employers, too, will see a penalty for not offering government-mandated insurance, although the Administration has delayed the enforcement of this provision until 2015. I have repeatedly supported legislation to repeal these harmful mandates.
Keeping taxes low and simplifying the tax code can help individuals, families, and job creators anticipate Tax Day with a little less dread. It would also help put Americans back to work and boost the economy in the long run. Washington can do more with less. But it requires government officials to be better stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Roger-Wicker12–Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker is a former President of the Ole Miss Associated Student Body.

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