Arizona Rep. Schweikert’s House Speech on Fraud, Spending, and Running Out of Money Goes Viral

 

Rep. David Schweikert (R-06-AZ), known as the wonky numbers member of Congress, gave a speech on the House floor a few days ago about runaway spending in Congress that has gone viral with over 1.2 million views. It’s on Social Security and Medicare running out of money and how the U.S. is headed for a dystopian future if it’s not fixed. He addressed several myths and offered solutions.

He began saying he’s about to say some things most people don’t want to hear, “We call it math.” The biggest threat over the next couple decades facing the country is demographics. “Getting older isn’t Democrat or Republican, it’s going to happen to everyone.” But he says he’s been booed for telling people the truth. “You don’t raise money telling people the truth about what’s going on.” Referring to Congress, he said, “We live in a financial fantasy world in this place … there’s a fraud around here.”

Schweikert displayed a graph of all federal spending. Most of it, 77 percent, is mandatory, a formula. Only 10 percent is spent on defense, and 13 percent encompasses everything else. So everything Congress is voting on right now is merely that 13 percent.

The representative added what people don’t realize is 90 percent of the spending hikes between 2008 and 2031 are due to Social Security, health entitlements and interest. The national debt is going to double by 2031, and Medicare and Social Security will be entirely responsible for increasing the deficit. Medicare Part A and the Social Security Trust Fund face bankruptcy in six and 12 years respectively.

He pointed out that Republicans have gotten mad for years at the costs from waste, fraud, and foreign aid — but they are a fraction of spending. Similarly, Democrats complain about defense spending. But non-defense discretionary spending has grown four times faster than defense spending since 1990. And even eliminating all defense spending would not stop the soaring entitlement costs. The 2017 tax cuts aren’t the problem. Even if they remain permanent, it’s a tiny fraction of money. The deficit-reduction deals made since 1983 weren’t very effective either, since they almost all only dealt with discretionary spending.

Schweikert complained how politicians say they’re going to protect Social Security and Medicare while they’re driving it into the ground. “The left is trying to expand the programs at the same time they’re collapsing,” he said.

Schweikert said a basic rule in Congress is the U.S. is not supposed to borrow more than the size of the economy (where the debt is 100 percent of GDP), because the interest payments get too high. Well that point has been reached, and it’s projected to increase to as much as 328 percent of GDP with President Joe Biden’s proposals — and even without them, it’s still at 200 percent. By 2051, interest payments will be 100 percent of GDP.

Schweikert emphasized that “it’s not falling revenues” that is the problem. The receipts coming in from taxes actually increased since the 1960s and 1970s when they were 17.3 percent of GDP. Now they’re 18.5 percent. But spending is going to start drastically increasing due to health care costs, leaving trillions in shortfalls. And it could be worse if there are recessions, terrorist attacks, etc.

He said Medicare for All won’t solve it. “It’s a financing bill, it does nothing to the cost of health care. Obamacare — the ACA — was a financing bill.” Even the Republican alternative was a financing bill. They were about who got to pay and who got subsidized, not about changing the cost of health care.

Schweikert said one fix is to look at the problem differently. He said 31 percent of Medicare spending is related to diabetes. “We need to do an ‘Operation Warp Speed’ on Type 2 diabetes. It’s something both Republicans and Democrats could agree on.” He observed that it’s also one of the single biggest things the country could do to address income inequality, since it disproportionately hurts minority communities. And it’s “solving people’s misery,” not wealth transfers.

He said there needs to be a revolution in the cost of health care. Social Security can be fixed, by adjustments such as limiting payments for wealthier people. But Medicare is $78 trillion short over the next 30 years. The typical person gets back from Social Security what they put in. But the typical couple retiring now will get back three times as much from Medicare that they put in, which is unsustainable.

Making the rich pay more isn’t the problem, he observed. The tax code has become more progressive over the years, with the rich now paying 70 percent, up from 55 percent in 1979. He said the emphasis needs to be on ending subsidies to the rich, “The progressive programs overwhelmingly benefit the rich.” He ranted, “That’s the lunacy around here, we want to tax the rich, but we’re going to turn around and hand it to them. If it’s my fourth house, and I buy it on a beach, should I be getting subsidized flood insurance?”

Schweikert observed that as a candidate, Biden promised $11 trillion in spending over the next decade. He said if you took all the tax hikes the progressives want, including taking half the income of everyone making $200,000 or more, you could not even balance the 10-year budget. If you took 100 percent of the income from small businesses and the wealthy, you could not balance the long-term budget.

There’s an additional problem with increasing taxes, he added. You also have to have economic growth at the same time. Under President Barack Obama, there was $500 billion in new taxes — which resulted in $3.2 trillion lost due to economic downgrades.

He briefly addressed the pandemic spending, which has exacerbated the debt and deficit. Congress spent $50,000 per household on pandemic spending — but did anyone feel they got that much benefit? He also added some warnings about Biden’s “Build Back Better” bill. He noted that Americans are already feeling the creeping economic consequences starting to take place, saying the increase in consumer costs like gas and food is due to Keynesian economics.

“At this point you’re not going to balance the budget,” he said, “Any politician who says that is lying. We’re merely going to stabilize it.” He ended with a warning: “If we don’t grow up, and take this head on, it’s going to take our head off.”

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “David Schweikert” by Forbes Breaking News.

 

 

 

 

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