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Blaine’s Bulletin by U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer

Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 12:55 pm

“We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefiting from their success – only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive and free. Trust the people.” –Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan was right when he argued that government must trust the people. As negotiations continue on the fiscal cliff, folks like you have been contacting our offices demanding that we resist proposals to allow tax cuts to expire and devastating defense cuts to take effect. Your personal stake in this argument boils down to one thing: You know best when it comes to making ends meet and improving the quality of life for your families.

As you know, next year several tax cuts are set to expire, equating to a tax increase of nearly $400 billion. At the same time, sequestration is set to cut defense spending by 9.4 percent and non-defense discretionary spending by 8.2 percent, resulting in a dramatic decrease in funding for our nation’s military. This is the fiscal cliff we are facing, and failure to act by January 1, 2013, will be devastating to our nation and our future.

Over the last thirty years, Congress has approved tax increases in exchange for guarantees of cuts in federal spending. Unfortunately, the American people got the tax increases but never saw the cuts and I do not believe that can continue to happen. I will only support a solution to the fiscal cliff that makes considerable cuts to government spending and reforms to government programs.

We must address the true drivers of spending, and all programs should be on the table, including Congressional budgets and reforms to entitlement programs in order to save them for current and future beneficiaries. Spending cuts are a necessary tool in getting our budget back on track, but I remain concerned that if we go over the fiscal cliff, across-the-board cuts will threaten our national security.

My colleagues in the House have taken steps to address both the tax increases and the fiscal cliff by sending legislation supported by both House Republicans and Democrats to the Senate that would stop the scheduled end of year tax increases by extending all current tax rates, including on income taxes, dividends and capital gains, for one year. The Senate has turned a blind eye to this legislation and they have also failed to consider legislation also passed by the House that would replace the across-the-board cuts from sequestration upon enactment of a House-passed reconciliation bill or an alternative bill that achieves the same or greater level of savings.

Congress and the White House continue to discuss potential solutions on the fiscal cliff and I remain hopeful that both parties can find common ground without compromising their principles. The framework put forth by Republicans offers a way to do this. I will continue to work with my colleagues and will support practical and productive policies to manage government spending and avoid tax increases on hardworking Missouri families.

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