by Erik Paulsen
Congress has a history of engaging in short term fixes instead of embracing long term solutions. It's one of my biggest frustrations and reasons there is uncertainty in the economy. The final fiscal cliff deal failed to bring any meaningful solution to reform spending or reduce the budget deficit. Ironically, it increases the deficit by $4 trillion.
Instead, the deal postponed automatic spending cuts for two months that were supposed to begin in January, so in February we will have a new budget cliff to deal with.
It's also unconscionable that this deal included hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies to special interest industries like Hollywood, NASCAR, and Puerto Rican rum producers, but did not stop the devastating new tax on the life-saving and life-improving medical device industry. The medical device tax, which just took effect, will harm one of Minnesota’s true success stories and threatens its 35,000 high paying jobs. Many of our Minnesota medtech companies have already begun laying off workers.
At a time when Washington borrows 46-cents on every dollar it spends, we need long term solutions to cut spending and fundamentally reform our outdated tax code to make it simple, fair, and more competitive so that it rewards investment, savings, innovation, and hard work.
In addition, this bill extends the current farm bill policies, including wasteful subsidy programs. Republicans, Democrats, and farmers all agree that these programs are unnecessary and eliminating them could have saved taxpayers billions of dollars.
I spoke with Minnesota families and small businesses; I read and re-read the bill. But at the end of the day, I could not cast my vote for a bill that is fiscally irresponsible and does nothing to solve the long-term problems facing our economic recovery.
As we look ahead I will continue to work in a bipartisan way to address and lower our national debt, reform government, and grow the economy.