Speaker Johnson: Biden Budget Would Make Largest Tax Increases in U.S. History

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


House Speaker Mike Johnson is sounding the alarm on President Joe Biden’s budget.

During an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Johnson wasted little time slamming Biden and Democrats for wanting to continue to “increase spending” and what’s in the $1.2 trillion spending package.

CNBC host Joe Kernen asked: “We had Maya MacGuineas on earlier. And we were talking about some of the long-term issues that we have in terms of spending and revenue and everything else. And she — she said, I don’t have one positive thing to tell you about — about this report. We call it the highlights, but they’re really the lowlights. And do you have an answer for what we need to do? You candidate for President Trump won’t touch Social Security or Medicare, even when he didn’t even say that, but when someone implied it, Biden immediately came out with an ad that said, I’m going to protect it. So neither candidate has — has — is going to touch that third rail, should we?”

“No, we shouldn’t. And here’s the way that we’ll do it. There’s two completely different world views on this. You know, the Biden budget came out, it would make the largest tax increases in — in U.S. history, about $4.9 trillion in tax increases, it would raise the — the debt to about $52 trillion over the next 10 years,” Johnson began.

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“We can’t go down that road, we’re going to crash the U.S. economy. We all recognize that. So what we present is the alternative view. And that is our House Budget Committee passed their resolution here in the last couple of weeks and it would balance the federal budget in 10 years and cut 15 trillion in spending, while not affecting Social Security or Medicare,” Johnson added.

“This is possible to do but it takes very tough political choices and you got to — you got to limit the size and scope of the federal government. What a concept. We’ve been talking about that for a long time, there is a path to do it, but it takes tough political choices. It takes political courage. And I think you’ll see that in the days ahead. Because again, I believe the stakes are too high and we have to save this economy. And I think we can but it has to be the right policy choices,” Johnson added.

Co-host Becky Quick jumped in and asked Johnson: “There have been calls, bipartisan calls actually to bring together another commission to address this, something like Simpson-Bowles, but one that has teeth would be required to follow the recommendations of that committee. Would you support that, Mr. Speaker?”

“I have been supportive of that. We’ve been talking about it, it would be a bipartisan, bicameral commission. The — the — the catch is you want to make sure that they don’t go in with the idea that they would be raising taxes because I think raising taxes is — is problematic in a situation like this, I think. I believe — I’m a limited government fiscal conservative — I believe in the principle of reducing taxes on job creators and innovators and — and risk takers and — and hardworking families, and reducing regulation so you can unleash the economy. And this is not just a theory, you know, we proved this in the first two years of Trump Administration,” Johnson responded.

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Quick cut off Johnson and then asked: “Can we just back up? If you are going into that saying I support a committee, but one that only sees things my way and is willing to cut expenses, but not do anything else, you’re going to lose the bipartisan part of that. Simpson-Bowles was based on the idea that you would have to raise taxes in some arenas, but also cut revenue. And that was how it was bipartisan, how you’d be able to get along with it. Could you see something like Simpson-Bowles, but that, again, also had teeth that would be required to follow the recommendations of that panel?”

“I think there’s a thoughtful discussion that needs to be had here and everything reviewed. But at the end of the day, I believe our — our principles are the ones that need to be presented,” Johnson said.

“And what we did in the Trump Administration is — is exactly that, the first two years. You know, by the end of — before Covid, right, at the beginning of 2020, we had the greatest economy in the history of the world, not just the U.S., and the reason is because we actually implemented these policies, tax cuts and Jobs Act, the regulatory reforms were transformative for the economy,” the speaker said.

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“We — we were onshoring, again manufacturing here. People were out, growing businesses, adding jobs, and you had an increase in every demographic in the country. All boats were rising at the same time. And then President Biden comes in and reflexively post-Covid does exactly the opposite. And that’s why we’re in the situation we’re in right now. These are policy choices that put us here, and thus policy choices that can turn us back,” Johnson said.

He concluded, “And I look forward to that. I don’t think November can get here soon enough. We start the next Congress in January and I think you’ll have unified government, with people in the White House, the Senate, and the House, who believe in these principles, and we advanced those, I think we can turn this economy around. I really, really do.”

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