Americans for Tax Reform and its Center for Fiscal Accountability recently sent the following letter to Congressman Jim Jordan, Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee. Our statement endorses a letter currently being circulated by the Chairman, calling on his colleagues in the House to reject the notion of deficit "triggers." In part, our letter states:
Both Congressional Democrats and the White House have expressed support for some kind of “deficit target” as a means towards addressing the country’s growing debt. In fact, focusing on the deficit serves as a fig leaf for real spending restraint; it ignores that the proper metric for addressing the country’s fiscal climate is not the deficit – it is the government’s spending.
Historically, federal tax revenues have averaged about 18 percent of GDP while spending has consistently taken up about 21 percent of the economy – providing for a 3 percent structural deficit. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that while tax revenue will return to this historical average, spending is expected to explode, averaging 23 percent for the next decade. Clearly, any solution to the country’s fiscal instability must address the government’s overspending.
The focus on the deficit provides a convenient excuse for lawmakers pushing for higher taxes, claiming the hole dug by overspending necessitates increased revenue. Thus, “trigger” mechanisms, such as those proposed by the President’s fiscal commission, translate to an automatic tax hike on all Americans that would not even have to be approved by Congress.
Click here to read the entire letter.