HATCH INTRODUCES BILL TO REIN IN RUNAWAY GOVERNMENT SPENDING

WASHINGTON – Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today introduced a bill that would force the federal government to rein in the reckless spending that threatens to bury this and future generations of Americans under a mountain of ruinous debt.

The Limitation on Government Spending Act of 2009 would restrict government spending to the historical average of 20 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP}. It is a legislative response to the Obama administration’s massive $3.6 trillion budget for fiscal year 2010.

“Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.’ While we remain in an economic recession, the Obama administration continues to spend our way out of it, disregarding the future consequences,” Hatch said in his remarks on the Senate floor.

“At a time when Utahns and Americans are tightening their wallets, this budget grows the size of government, excluding nondefense-related spending in just two years by 22 percent . . . ,” Hatch continued. “Many Americans, as demonstrated last week through TEA parties, are asking if this government spending will ever stop. After trillions for bailouts and other government spending, this budget makes no hard choices to reform runaway spending.”

The full text of Sen. Hatch’s remarks, which were entered into the Congressional record, follows:

Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Limitation On Government Spending Act of 2009. This legislation will set limits on the amount of government spending in comparison to the nation’s gross domestic product.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.” While we remain in an economic recession, the Obama administration continues to spend our way out of it, disregarding the future consequences.

As we continue on this route of reckless government spending, we continue to increase our debt that will be passed down to our children, grandchildren, and many generations to come. The only way to repay this debt is to increase taxes. That is why I believe it is so important that we restrict ourselves from spending too much, especially during this economic recession.

At a time when Utahns and Americans are tightening their wallets, this budget grows the size of government, excluding nondefense-related spending in just two years by 22 percent.

Many Americans, as demonstrated last week through TEA parties, are asking if this government spending will ever stop. After trillions for bailouts and other government spending, this budget makes no hard choices to reform runaway spending.

I keep hearing my friends on the other side of the aisle eagerly point out that President Bush never vetoed a spending bill. While I may agree that the former President should have restricted more in government spending, President Obama’s budget spends more than President Bush’s did every year, even after adjusting for inflation. Furthermore, the spending in this budget is so massive that independent estimates suggest roughly 250,000 new government bureaucrats may be needed to spend it all.

While President Obama would like to claim this as job growth, I think this is a false sense of economic recovery. Long after our economy has hopefully recovered, we will need to continue financing these new 250,000 new government bureaucrats through, you guessed it, more government spending.

My Republican colleagues want to work with the President to improve the economy. This should be done by focusing on the issues that are hurting Americans the most. Fixing housing, reforming financial markets, developing clean energy and providing affordable health care are all common goals that both sides of the aisle share. But President Obama’s European-style approach to achieve these goals is to socialize America – to spend, spend, spend and not worry about the enormous price tag it will leave.

If you look at the proposed budget, you can see the reckless spending. This budget increases discretionary spending by $490 billion over 5 years, and it promises much more spending than that - $1.3 trillion over 5 years – through 27 reserve funds. The total spending in this budget is $3.9 trillion in 2009, or 28 percent of GDP, the highest level as a share of the GDP since World War II. This is absurd.

How can we tell the American public, who are budgeting themselves and making sacrifices, that we are going to spend our way out of this, then come back to them and tax them until they are back in the same position? It is ludicrous.

We are moving toward what I call the Europeanization of America. To understand what I mean, it is helpful to compare European countries’ total government spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with our nation’s government spending.

In France, for example, government spending is close to 50 percent of GDP. England’s government spending is roughly 44 percent of GDP. In Germany, government spending is 45 percent of GDP. In the United States, federal government spending has been around 20 percent. However, to accurately compare the U.S. to European nations, it is necessary to include state and local spending. Once that is factored in, U.S. government spending exceeds 37 percent of GDP, and that is before President Obama’s stimulus package and budget for this year are taken into account. Thus, it is almost a forgone conclusion that by the end of this year, total government spending in the United States will be in line with most European governments. Do we really want to move toward this Europeanization of America?

Despite what you may hear, trivial attempts to cutback will not make an impact on government spending. This past week, President Obama admirably asked his administration to trim $100 million in government spending.

While this amount would be significant a century ago, it doesn’t do much today to reduce government spending. This cut would amount to just one-four-hundredth of one percent of total federal spending for fiscal 2009. The federal government spends $100 million about every 13 minutes. So, while President Obama’s restraint on government spending is admirable, it is just a drop in the bucket for what we really need to achieve.

Mr. President, it is time for us to take a stand on government spending. We need to show self-discipline when dealing with government spending. Since World War II, federal spending has been between 18 and 22 percent of GDP. I am calling upon my colleagues to restrict government spending to the historical average of 20 percent. This limitation may be waived by an approval of three-fifths of members of this body.

It is time that we restrict government spending. It will cause us to make some tough decisions about what is really important. One thing is certain, we cannot continue down the path we are headed. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to change course and get back on the path to fiscal sanity.