This is a premeditated moral and economic crime. I am speaking against it. I am pleased that some of the Senators in the other Chamber have stood up on a vote of courage and have prevented some of these tax cuts going through. I hope they can continue some of that profile in courage, and we can get a budget that does not break the bank and our children's backs.
Mr. SMITH of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman.
I just want to close by saying, it does not have to be this way. There is absolutely no reason our Nation cannot put us on a fiscally responsible path in the next 10 years.
Now, I will be honest. I do not believe we can balance the budget this year. We have too many pulls upon us between the economy and the war and various other concerns, but over the 10-year period of time we could quite easily put together a budget that is balanced.
I think the reasons we have not gotten there is because politics over the course of the last 20 years, certainly over the course of the last five or ten, in an accelerating fashion has become more and more about promises. And at the end of the day that is why I feel that the Republicans, and in some cases some Democrats, have tried to argue the deficit does not matter because the deficit is inconvenient. When you are out on the stump trying to get elected, people wants tax cuts and they want spending programs. Fiscal responsibility in the short term does not put any money in anybody's pocket and it is a hard thing to be in favor of.
You want to promise things. You want to promise a prescription drug benefit. You want to promise a big tax cut. You want to promise more money for the military or more money for education or more money for veterans. And those promises add up to far more than we could ever possibly deliver. And as those promises add up, we dig ourselves a deeper and deeper hole so that when we actually get back to Congress or in the White House and we have to make the decisions that are necessary to move our country forward, we have that huge stack of promises coming up behind us that we do not think that we can get out from under.
Mr. Speaker, I guess I will close on a bipartisan note. While it is certainly true to say that the Republicans right now are behaving in a very fiscally irresponsible manner, they have turned on a dime from a rich history of fiscal responsibility for political reasons, it is fair to say that Democrats have not always been fiscally responsible either. In many cases they have supported more programs than our government can support. It is a bipartisan problem but it can also be fixed in a bipartisan manner. There are Republicans and there are many Democrats who believe in balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility. As a group, we need to rise up and make sure that our voices are heard and our policies get enacted. We can not afford to have deficits for as far as the eye can see. We certainly cannot afford to have $4 trillion in deficits racked up over the course of the next 10 years.
If we do, future generations will be dealing with a mess of a size this country has not seen. Fiscal responsibility matters. Let us always remember that and pledge to work on it.
Mr. Speaker, before I am done I want to recognize the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Kind).
Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for yielding to me before we yield back the remainder of our time. I think the gentleman has touched upon a very important point and we need to just restate it. And that is the essence of budgeting is all about decision making, but it should also be about taking responsibility for what is taking place today. And the easiest thing for a politician to be able to say to people back home or to run on the campaign is, You can have it all. You can have all these programs that you care about. We can fight this war in Iraq and do the rebuilding, and you can have large tax cuts on top of it and you can have it all.
But you cannot because decisions have to be made. And if you pursue that type of economic policy, if you pursue that type of political message, what you leave the American people then are these massive budget deficits because the current generation of Americans are not stepping forward and taking responsibility for the decisions that are being made today. And what this, in essence, constitutes then is taxation without representation because it will be our children and it will be our grandchildren that will have to be the ones to clean up the fiscal mess that is being created today. And it is not fair to them because they too often are the neglected voices, the future of this country, when, in order to sell a certain type of philosophy or economic policy, you try convincing the American people that they can have it all. They can have this huge increase in defense spending that we are seeing right now and they can have a large tax cut at the same time which was exactly the same economic policy that was pursued in the 1980's and first part of the 1990's.
It has been said that what we are debating today is deja voodoo economics all over again. And I believe that because this is history repeating itself. Where we saw with the decisions made in the early 1980's led to a quadrupling of the national debt and the detrimental economic effect it had on our Nation, and now we are back in that same type of scenario. And it is not too late. And hopefully we will be able to engage in a bipartisan conversation in this Congress and get the President and his people back involved in this. And let us come up with a long term plan recognizing the short term demands on the Treasury that we currently have, the obligations to fight international terrorism, to do Iraq right, not only winning the war but winning the peace. But let us also have a long term plan in order to set up future Congresses and our kids for a chance to succeed with this aging population which we all know is going to happen and which everyone does not really want to talk too much about. But this is the time for us to make these decisions, not when we have 80 million Americans suddenly retiring and entering these very important programs. I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.
Mr. SMITH of Washington. The gentleman's remarks reminded me of a line from the President's State of the Union speech this year. Very early on in his speech he said that the paramount goal of his was that we shall not pass our problems and our challenges on to future Congresses. Now, I think what the President was alluding to at that point was Saddam Hussein and Iraq; and I happen to agree with him on that for one. I think it was bold and courageous to step up and address that problem and not pass it on to future Congresses.
But I could not help but be struck by the irony of a line saying, We shall not pass our problems on to future Congresses. If you think about it basically what he was saying was but we shall pass on the bill. That is not responsible. When you run up deficits like this, that the very definition of passing your problems on to future Congresses. It is irresponsible, unworkable, and not in the best interest of the future of this country. I am absolutely convinced we can do better, that we can put together a fiscally responsible budget that best prepares us for the future and allows future economic growth.
I want to thank my colleagues again who came out to speak with me tonight on this issue. This is not the last time we will be talking about it. Fiscal responsibility is a never-ending job.