At the negotiating table, legislators need to keep one number in mind: 40%. If they can’t remember it, they should write it on their palms. In fiscal 2009, total government spending (federal, state and local) exceeded 40% of everything produced in the U.S. Only once before was that line crossed—in World War II. When government spends so much, less is left for people to spend as they choose. Nothing today justifies the confiscation of nearly half of people’s productivity.
Yet members of Congress crossed that 40% danger line and continue to propose costly programs that Americans will have to pay for with the fruits of their labor. No member of Congress asked citizens, “Would you rather make your own car payments instead of bailing out the auto industry or funding National Public Radio?”
At any health-care summit, legislators must hold the line at 40%. Crossing it is dangerous, whether the spending is paid for with taxes now or borrowed and taken from you and your children later. Mr. Obama defends the current Democratic health bills, claiming they will reduce the deficit. That’s a shell game. These bills are paid for with $500 billion in new taxes over 10 years. A vast expansion of government spending paid for by new taxes is not deficit reduction. It’s freedom reduction.