Grass Roots Group Delivers No New Tax Pledge To Congress

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:24 PM EDT

( - The Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) want members of Congress to read its lips: no new taxes. The group is petitioning Members of Congress asking them to pledge to do just that.

The group delivered a Taxpayer Protection Pledge to Congress this week. CSE wants Members to stop efforts to spend one penny of the Social Security surplus to fund big government programs and oppose any and all tax increases.

Jim Miller, counselor to Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and former director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under President Reagan told, "We want them to commit that there will be no new taxes. What we see here, is a situation in which the President wants to increase spending in a number of directions, the Congress wants to increase spending in other directions. I know from personal experience, the easiest thing in the world is, you have to come up with the revenue to cover these outlays."

"We need tax cuts, not tax increases," Miller said, "and if we just get them (Members of Congress) to hold the line on taxes and pledge not to dip into the Social Security surplus, then I think we have a fighting chance of keeping government within some bounds."

When asked why members of Congress need to sign a Taxpayer Protection Pledge despite a Republican majority, Miller responded, " Because the longer the Republican insurgents remain, the more they become like the locals. The more they are prone to join the big spending crowd."

Miller cited data that showed 1995 budget increase was really "quite modest" under the Republican controlled Congress. He pointed to 1996 when the budget increase got bigger and in 1997 got even bigger. "The further you go," Miller said, "the more the Republicans look like Democrats. All the commitments about keeping spending under control seem to be honored more in the breach, then as a rule."

However, Miller says, in fairness to the Republicans, "there has been attrition of the Republican margin. They have a five-vote margin right now. It's very tight. So, in either party, you've got some wusses that are going to slide over and vote on the other side."

Miller praised House Republican Tom DeLay (R-TX). "He's fighting very, very hard to keep spending under control."

But Miller cautioned, "You've got to have spending bills that get the majority and of course in this 'non-partisan world' you can rely on the other party to vote no on every appropriations measure. What the strategy has to be is to acquire enough support from the marginal Republicans to get it passed."

In another argument to keep government spending down, Miller cited his former boss President Ronald Reagan. "I think the thing to focus on to keep the spending down, goes back to one of the arguments that President Reagan made for which he got lambasted thoroughly in the press, and that is, that sometimes, you just need to starve the beast. And you starve the beast by not giving it more money."

Miller believes that you tend to have runaway government spending in even numbered years and that's a sad commentary. "Next year's going to be even harder to keep a lid on spending and I just hope that we can keep a lid on spending this year, because it's going to be even tougher next year."

Miller said Citizens for Sound Economy (CSE) welcomes Democrats, Republicans, Independents to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. "If we can keep enough majority in Congress committed not to increase any tax rates, then chances are, that we are going spending under more control than without."

Citizens For Sound Economy (CSE) spokesperson Christin Tinsworth told Thursday, eight members of Congress thus far have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. They are: Reps. Van Hilleary (R-TN), Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA), Thomas Petri, (R-WI), Nick Smith (R-MI), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Cass Ballenger (R-NC), Sue Kelly (R-NY) and Ernie Fletcher (R-KY).