Many Americans are expressing concerns about deficit spending in Washington, and the call for the government to reform its wasteful ways is being heard at town halls all over the nation. Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the House and author of the book Real Change, discussed his “new model” for America’s budgetary process at the American Enterprise Institute on August 13, 2009.
Gingrich disagrees with politicians who think our budgetary problems are merely “transitory.”
“I think 2009 is different,” Gingrich said. “I think we have entered into a different world. I think the crisis is real. I think it requires fundamental change.”
Such change, according to Gingrich, begins with being “honest about honest facts.” “We have a politics and government of fundamental dishonesty, in which we refuse to face the facts because the facts are too frightening,” he argued.
The numbers are indeed staggering. Michael Barone, a resident fellow of AEI, notes that the government ran a $181,000,000,000 deficit in July, amounting to $6,000,000,000 in deficit spending each day. The Heritage Foundation’s report on “Federal Spending by the Numbers” estimates the government will run a deficit of $1.845 trillion in 2009.
Gingrich argued that these levels of government spending are becoming “literally unsustainable.” “Unless you think big enough to arouse a level of public energy to overwhelm the old order, you cannot fix the current problems,” he said.
For that reason, Gingrich says that cancelling town hall meetings is “exactly wrong.”
“Successful budgeting starts by defining a successful society,” Gingrich said. “You have be prepared to think about where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, and then think about what kind of government that takes, and then think about the budget in that order.”
Gingrich says that the major obstacle toward achieving “real change” is challenging the agendas of politicians who “have been trained in the old order.”
“All too often what happens is somebody gets elected to a government job, they promptly narrow their vision to managing the bureaucracy, and they become a captive of the bureaucracy,” he said.
Gingrich argued that “many of the best people in this country refuse to take government jobs anymore” because of excessive and complicated laws concerning ethics and disclosure. He referred to this trend as a “huge crisis” that has “limited our ability to arouse talent.”
Citing the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) and its bungling of rescue operations during Hurricane Katrina, the numerous problems with government road-building projects in Afghanistan, and the failure of Detroit public schools as examples of bureaucratic ineptitude, Gingrich further argued that America cannot tolerate “more of the same.”
Instead, Gingrich’s plan gives Americans a temporary new tax credit to offset 50% of the payroll tax, reduces the marginal tax rate to 15%, and reduces the business tax rate in order to grow America’s economy.