Let the word go forth today from gatherings like this across the nation that the silent majority is no longer silent. We are stirring. We are awakening. We are many. And we are Americans – the latest generation of Americans who have been called upon to defend our liberties and the constitutional principles of limited government that protect our freedom.
Think about how far we have strayed from what Jefferson called the “sum of good government.” He described it as (quote) “a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”
Somewhere along the line we lost that government. Isn’t it time that we got it back?
Our opponents seek to portray us as angry taxpayers. No, we are not angry taxpayers. We are resolute Americans. And today, we here highly resolve that the liberties defended on far-off battlefields by ten generations of American patriots and heroes will not be casually thrown away here at home – not on our generation’s watch.
We are here because we, as a people, are awakening to the danger of a government that spends too much and borrows too much and taxes too much, because we know what that means.
We know that you can’t spend your way rich.
We know that you can’t borrow your way out of debt.
And we know that you can’t tax your way to prosperity.
No nation in the history of the world has ever spent, borrowed and taxed its way to economic health. Not one. But history gives us many examples of nations that have spent, borrowed and taxed their way to economic ruin and bankruptcy.
We Californians already know where these policies lead, because under a tragic succession of governors, we have watched them turn our once Golden State into an economic basket case.
We watched as they increased spending at unsustainable rates; as they ran up unprecedented debts; and as they imposed crushing new taxes.
Today in California, run-away government spending has impoverished our economy; interest costs are eating our budget alive; and our tax burden is producing one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.
We have the highest income tax in the nation. Next door, Nevada has NO INCOME TAX, and yet California just increased our income tax yet again. We pay the highest sales tax in the nation. Next door, Oregon has NO SALES TAX. And yet, California once again has increased the sales tax by 13 percent. And they have just doubled our car tax.
And yet, despite record levels of taxes and record levels of borrowing, this government still can’t manage to provide a decent road system or educate our kids or protect our families from predators.
The $13 billion tax increase that they just forced on our families is the biggest tax increase by any state government in our nation’s history.
And we remember what happened the last time they did this. We remember what happened when Pete Wilson imposed a $7 billion tax increase. While the national economy expanded, Wilson’s tax increases broke the back of California’s economy; they produced the biggest plunge in retail sales in 30 years and then produced two consecutive years of billion-dollar-a-year declines in state revenues while the rest of the nation prospered.
That was a $7 billion tax increase. Can you imagine what a $13 billion tax increase will do in the most difficult recession in a generation? Well, we’re about to find out.
The Census Bureau tells us that an unprecedented number of Californians are now fleeing to the 49 other states. But if we allow these same policies to destroy our country, where will we go?
President Obama’s budget relies on the biggest tax increase by the federal government in our nation’s history: back-breaking new taxes on small businesses, on investment, on energy production and on charitable giving.
This is not complicated stuff. If you increase taxes on productivity you get less productivity. If you increase taxes on energy production you get less energy. If you increase taxes on charitable giving, you get less charity. If you increase taxes on investment you get fewer jobs.
Obama’s budget would double the national debt in five years and triple it in ten.
Let me repeat that. All of the debt that our nation has accumulated from the first day of the George Washington Administration to the last day of the George Bush administration – will literally be doubled in the next five years and tripled in the next ten if Obama and Pelosi and Reid prevail.
We’ve watched how too much spending, too much borrowing and too much taxing has wrecked our state of California. We are now watching it threaten to ruin our country. And we have had enough.
Our opponents expect that we will vent our frustrations today and then go home. They expect that we’re going to grudgingly cut our family budgets by another $1,300 a year to pay for Schwarzenegger’s new taxes. They expect later this year, we’ll cut our family budgets by another $1,500 to pay for Obama’s new taxes. And that’ll be the end of it.
I’ve got news for them. This is just the beginning.
When we go home today, we’re going home to organize…
We need to write letters to the editor, post blogs on the Internet, make entries on facebook and myspace. We need to twitter and call in to radio shows and stand up at public meetings and be sure that every voter understands that … “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”
We’re going to agitate and agitate and agitate everywhere we can in every forum we can find – every single one of us. This is a fight that every one of us is in and where every one of us can make a difference…
And whenever we get tired or discouraged, we’re going to remember what the American Founders first pledged in defense of our freedoms when they signed the Declaration of Independence. You remember their words: they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. And they meant it.
Every one of them faced the gallows, but they signed anyway. Every one of them faced losing everything they owned – but they signed anyway.
Think about how little history demands of our generation in defense of those very same freedoms. We are not asked to give our lives – only a portion of our time until we have set things right. We are not asked to give our fortunes – just a portion of our resources to support the … causes that will restore our freedoms.
But our sacred honor – history does expect that of us in full – that we will focus our time and our resources and not slacken or tire until we have retrieved our liberty, restored it and passed it on inviolate to our children. Because ladies and gentlemen, if we fail that test, what history will demand of our children and grandchildren is unthinkable.
When Abraham Lincoln made his way to Washington, his train stopped in a little town in Ohio and he spoke these words to the folks who gathered there that day.
If he were here today, I think he would have said exactly the same.
He said, “I appeal to you, my fellow citizens, constantly to bear in mind that not with the president, not with the office-holders, but with YOU is the question, ‘Shall the liberties of our nation be preserved to the latest generation?” CRO
Speech to the Sacramento Tax Day Tea Party on April 15, 2009.
Rep. Tom McClintock is a Member of Congress representing California’s 4th Congressional district.