Saturday, July 9, 2011

Caution: Congress at Work

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We have often heard a Member of Congress utter these fateful words: "Tomorrow, I plan to introduce legislation ..." New tax breaks, new regulations, a study of this or that, declarations, recognitions. Usually introduced because there's some perceived crisis or – worse – because the member feels they have to appear "active" to the voters back home.

And we, the electorate, are guilty too. "Our tax dollars are paying their salaries and we demand action!" On top of that, lobbyists for various companies and causes are pushing their own agenda, looking for spending programs and tax breaks. Well, it's time to get off this merry-go-round.

Even in the current period of a slack economy, Congress doesn't need to be active in creating new legislation to get the economy going. Instead, Congress needs to fund projects that aid commerce and start deconstructing all the obstacles it has put in place that prevent the economy and government from working efficiently and effectively. I'm not talking about the generic "regulations" often mentioned by one of the major parties; well-crafted regulations provide information and level playing grounds needed to make the market economy work.

I'm talking about obstacles that create uncertainty and confusion: what's my tax rate, what healthcare do I have to provide my employees, who can I legally hire? Let's start with the tax code as an example. Every year, I have no idea what my personal end-of-year tax bill is going to be; I have to use tax software to calculate my tax return and still I'm not sure I got it right. As a businessman, I know this year what my employment costs will be; but what about next year when new healthcare legislation kicks in?

As the Member of Congress for Virginia's 11th District, I will start the renovation. A smaller federal government with fewer, leaner departments and effective, efficient programs. Tax codes for individuals and businesses that are understandable, certain, and expected. Regulations that help markets work while safeguarding individual rights and the environment.

Trust me: I'll be working – working to undo the confusion and clutter that prevents us from being our best.