Transcript: Q&A w/ Rep. Roger Williams on the CBO’s 2014 budget & economic outlook

Partial transcript of Q&A with Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) 2014 federal budget and economic outlook. The House Budget Committee hearing was held on Feb. 5, 2014:

Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas):
…I’m a small business owner for 42 years. Family-owned business. And I like to think, frankly, like a taxpayer and a small business owner rather than a politician.

The economy and the Main Street economy is not fixed. It’s hurting, I can tell you that.

And zero percent has not worked. And stimulus money has not worked.

The effects are evident from high unemployment to high under-employment. People living from paycheck to paycheck. People on food stamps. And frankly, larger deficits. We see that.

I believe the last thing we have to fix this economy and turn it around is through small business owners and lower taxes, and I think that’s what we have left. And I’m a big supporter of cutting the corporate, cutting the personal, cutting the cap gains, cutting the dividends, cutting the payroll tax – employee and employer, accelerating the rate of depreciation on fixed assets, and repatriation and also inheritance tax. I believe there’s places there that if we reduce all that, small business generates a lot of opportunity to do the great things, make money, and – frankly small businesses don’t save money; they spend money – they spend money on infrastructure and hire people, and I think that’s a big answer to a lot of the problems that we have.

That being said, my question to you would be what benefits would we reap by reforming our broken tax code, by lowering taxes and tax rates, and broadening the tax base on an individual and corporate basis in which is revenue-neutral as I’ve indicated?

Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office:
So, Congressman, we and other analysts think that the sort of tax reform you’ve described could boost economic growth but the amount of that boost depends very importantly on the specifics of the tax reform that Congress will consider, and we are standing by to do an economic analysis of approaches to tax reform if you and others in this committee would be interested.

Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas):
Well, if you do these things, I’m convinced you will just put more people in the job market, more taxpayers, more cash flow. It works.

We talked a lot about minimum wage today, off and on. My question to you would be as someone who owns a business, if we raise the minimum wage, how do I pay for that?

Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office:
Well, Congressman, as I mentioned in a response to an earlier question, we are currently doing an analysis of the effects of raising the minimum wage, looking at the effects on employment and the effects on family income, and we hope to present that analysis to the Congress in a few weeks. I don’t want to get ahead of that…

Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas):
It could cost jobs. It could raise prices and, again, affect the consumer.

Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office:
Yes, Congressman.

Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas):
Next question would be we’re talking about tax decreases. What would be the effects on the economy of increasing marginal tax rates?

Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office:
Again, I think it’s a widespread view among analysts that increasing marginal tax rates would slow the economy all else equal. And the question is – but I want to emphasize, we have significant deficits, we think growing deficits. We have a high level of debt that weighs on the economy. So unless some change is made to either spending or revenues of a sizable nature, that high level of debt will weigh on the economy. So as you think about marginal tax rates and think about changes in spending programs, I think it’s important for you and your colleagues to think about the direct effect of those changes but also to think about the effects on the overall budget balance and thus on the debt and the economic effects of debt on the economy.

Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas):
Well, I agree. Also, I think as a retailer, when you’re not selling your products – i.e. you don’t raise the price, you cut the price to get more people buying, more people in the system and I kind of think that’s where we are…


Learn More:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.