NATIONAL TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP WEIGHS IN ON WHAT TO DO WITH BUDGET “SURPLUS” | Citizens Against Government Waste

NATIONAL TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP WEIGHS IN ON WHAT TO DO WITH BUDGET “SURPLUS”

Press Release

For Immediate Release   Contact: Jim Campi
January 29, 1998(202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) At a Capitol Hill news conference today, Council for Citizens Against Waste (CCAGW) President Thomas A. Schatz joined members of Congress and other taxpayer groups in support of proposed legislation that would ensure that future projected budget “surpluses” would be used for either debt reduction or tax cuts – not for increased spending.

“Imagine this conversation between spouses at the end of this year,” Schatz stated. “One spouse says, ‘Look, honey, we’re rich!!  This year, we kept more money than we spent.  So even though that’s the first time in 29 years we’ve done that, aren’t you excited?  Let’s go out and spend it all.’  The other says, ‘Wait a minute!  What about the thousands of dollars in interest payments – fifteen percent of our spending each year – and the tens of thousands of dollars in debt we still owe on our credit cards?  Shouldn’t that be our primary responsibility, along with leaving our kids free of debt?’

“This is not an imaginary conversation in Washington, D.C.  Legislators and the President have been talking for weeks about what to do with a projected budget surplus in 1998.  Action must be taken to make sure that irresponsible politicians in this town do not use a potential surplus as a license to spend.”

Legislation introduced by Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.) and Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) would enforce the spending levels agreed to in last year’s Balanced Budget Act.  A third bill, by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) would hold the government to entitlement spending levels specified in the budget deal.

“Before we all jump up and down congratulating ourselves, and our elected representatives, for finally balancing the budget,” said Schatz, “it is imperative to understand exactly how the books are being cooked in Washington. 

“First and foremost, there is no extra money.  The national debt is currently $5.4 trillion and interest payments on the debt are $260 billion  So even if the government has a ‘surplus’ of $20 billion next year, that’s less than ten percent of the interest payments, and three-tenths of one percent of the total debt – hardly a reason to celebrate, and complete justification for not touching the extra revenue. 

“Lawmakers should also be reminded that it is the taxpayers’ money that is providing the cushion to balance the budget.  CCAGW applauds Sens. Abraham and Brownback and Rep. Boehner for their leadership in holding the line on spending against the hordes of special interests waiting to steal the ‘surplus.’”

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is a 600,000-member organization dedicated to seeking enactment of legislation to eliminate waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and abuse in the federal government.

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