WASHINGTON -- Americans sent an unmistakable message last month: Washington needs to cut spending and steward taxpayer dollars in a fiscally responsible manner. For far too long -- and under both Republican and Democrat watches -- our nation's finances have been mismanaged and ruled by out-of-control spending.
Unfortunately, if the last few days have been any indication, some in Congress simply refuse to listen to the American people. Due to inaction on appropriations bills necessary to avoid a government shutdown, the House and Senate were forced to remain in session after the election last month -- a situation commonly referred to as a "lame duck" session.
Time and time again, Members from both sides of the aisle have spoken on the need to create jobs and cut government spending. However, this lame duck session has simply proven to be a continuation of the failed legislative agenda which has stymied economic growth the last four years.
Unless Congress acts, a $3.8 trillion tax hike is set to take effect on January 1, 2011. This would be the largest tax increase in our country's history, and the average Nebraska family will see its federal income taxes skyrocket from $3,461 to $5,090 -- an increase of $1,600.
Legislation put forth by House Democrats under the guise of "tax relief" would have in fact raised taxes on small businesses throughout our country. Simply bringing such a bill to the House floor shows a clear disconnect from the economic reality facing our country. I opposed this ill-conceived measure, and thankfully it appears dead on arrival in the Senate.
Political tactics such as this -- with job-killing implications for employers and entrepreneurs gripped by uncertainty over the looming tax hikes -- only will further slow down our economy at a time when it is struggling to right itself.
It is simple. Creating an environment of uncertainty does nothing to stem unemployment and only creates more headaches for job creators.
This is not what the American people want, and it is past time for Washington to start listening. A tax hike at any level is detrimental to incomes, investments, and economic security at all levels.
We shouldn't be raising taxes on any American. Recent polls have shown 72 percent of Americans have scaled back on everyday expenses, and almost half report cutting back on Thanksgiving dinners.
To help our economy get back to creating jobs, we need to cut spending and prevent the tax hikes scheduled to take effect at the start of next year. The last thing our economy needs right now is a job-killing tax hike on small businesses.
A clean bill which ensures no American faces a tax increase in this difficult economic environment is all but certain to engender a bipartisan majority in Congress. We also should hold non-security discretionary spending at fiscal year 2008 levels.
It is my hope we can use the lame duck session to take these necessary steps before Americans are saddled with the largest tax increase in American history.
We won't solve our fiscal challenges until we cut spending, stop the growth of government, and extend the current tax rates. The sooner we can provide certainty to American businesses -- even if it is part of a lame duck session of Congress -- the sooner they can get our economy back on track and start hiring again.