Chuck Donovan Replies to Johnny Isakson’s July 28, 2010 Article in the AJC Regarding Taxes

by Chuck Donovan

Senator Isakson’s article provides his position with respect to recent history regarding only half of the federal government’s fiscal equation: taxes. Not mentioned is the other half of the equation: spending. This is a failure of the Spending Test.

While the 2001 and 2003 tax acts did reduce federal taxes relative to what taxes would have been, the spending increases Isakson supported produced record deficits that left our country and the taxpayers in a worsening situation. Furthermore, the 2001 and 2003 tax acts greatly complicated the tax system, as evidenced by the time required to complete an individual tax return. This is another failure of the Spending Test.

Total federal debt was $5.674 trillion as of September 30, 2000, about one year after Johnny Isakson entered the U.S. Congress. By September 30, 2006, the figure was $8.507 trillion – a 50 percent increase in 6 years. During the 2001-2006 time period, federal spending increased, on average, approximately 7 percent per year, while the economy was only growing at an average of less than 3 percent per year. The increase in spending was more than double the increase in the economy’s growth.

Mr. Isakson was on board with the spending and debt spree that took place during these years in which the Republican Party controlled the Congress and the White House. He voted in favor of nearly all of the growth of government and debt – another failure of the spending test.

Some might defend Johnny Isakson’s spending record arguing that spending had to increase to deal with the War on Terror. Put aside for a moment, the issue of how the War on Terror has been fought. If defense was the only expense driving the deficits and debt, the argument might be correct. However, a closer look at the numbers shows something else. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) actual year-end numbers, every single year Johnny Isakson has been in Washington, D.C., non-defense spending has increased. The government’s own numbers clearly show it hasn’t just been defense that has cost us. They also show again that Johnny Isakson fails the Spending Test.

Now, in an election year, Mr. Isakson wants people to look at only half the equation, because he knows he fails when the whole equation is analyzed. A 2nd grader, who gets all the addition questions right but all the subtraction questions wrong, is failing.

Senator Isakson claims his big spender days are in the past, but can we rely upon him? Based upon his actual performance, his current statements sound like the typical, empty promises made during an election year. We already know how thoroughly he has failed the Spending Test. Do we really need to test him again for another six years?

The GAO tells us that under either major party’s fiscal plans, our nation’s debts will spiral out of control. Senator Isakson will soon attempt to say he’s less fiscally irresponsible than Commissioner Thurmond. Turning around the economy is exactly what we need to do, but Isakson’s latest political offers amount to simply a change in speed, not direction.

That is failure in any test.