Pat Toomey on Budget & Economy

Republican Jr Senator; previously Representative (PA-15)


Fed role: legal system, currency & defense, within its means

A well-functioning government does these 4 key things:
  1. It makes sure we have a legal system that respects property rights, because the clear title & ownership & ability to use private property are the cornerstone of a free enterprise system.
  2. It requires that the government establish sensible regulations that are not excessive--too much regulation has unintended consequences that curb our ability to create the jobs that we need.
  3. Government needs to ensure a stable currency. We need sound money because debasing one's currency is the way to financial ruin--not the path to prosperity.
  4. Perhaps most important: governments need to live within their means. Government can't be spending too much money and can't have taxes at too high a level. Government spending must be limited, which means it should certainly be much less than what we have today.
On these 4 priorities the US government is not doing a good job. The most egregious failure obviously continues to be the level of spending.
Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 3-4 , Jan 10, 2012

We need statutory spending limits written into law

The most irresponsible thing we could do is simply raise the debt limit and run up even more debt without doing anything to fix the problems that led to our current crisis. We need to have real cuts in spending now--not later, at some distant hypothetical point of time in the future--but now.

We need a balanced budget amendment. We need statutory spending caps written into law. We need to obey the Constitution again and get back to the spirit of our Founders: that of a free people who remain free due to a government that largely stays out of the way. Our government was supposed to be one that is severely limited--not one that diminishes citizens' prospects and darkens our children's future through unlimited spending and growth.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 5 , Jan 10, 2012

Growing government was not the key to economic recovery

Toomey railed against Democratic opponent Joe Sestak for supporting "serial bailouts of failing companies, government nationalizing whole industries, spending money on a scale we've never seen before," the stimulus plan, the cap-and-trade energy tax, and the federal health-care bill. "Joe Sestak has voted for every single item on that agenda," Toomey said. "His only criticism is that it doesn't go far enough."

Toomey said that growing government was not the key to economic recovery, and that both federal and state government should be pushing policies that will encourage job growth in the private sector. He advocated making the 2003 tax cuts permanent and reining in spending. "This isn't rocket science," said Toomey. "If we clear away the threats coming out of Washington--the excessive regulation, the government takeover--then I am convinced that the 21st century will be another great American century. We've got a great opportunity to take back our country and get it on the right track."

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer on 2010 Pennsylvania Senate race , Oct 30, 2010

We can't borrow and spend our way to prosperity

The two men traded jabs on economic issues. "We can't borrow and spend our way to prosperity, otherwise Greece would have the best economy in the world," said Toomey, founder of a small chain of family restaurants and a former Wall Street trader. He said Sestak did not understand how to create jobs, criticizing his rival's votes for the financial-industry bailout and rescues of General Motors and Chrysler, as well as the stimulus.

Sestak said he had to clean up the mess left behind by irresponsible spending and tax-cutting under President George W. Bush. "We'd been torpedoed and had to caulk the holes," he said.

The two actually agreed that the tone of their race had grown negative, but neither accepted blame for it. Both defended their ads as issues-based and accurate.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate , Oct 23, 2010

Real threat to economy is billions on bailouts

Sestak blamed Toomey, who was a member of Congress from 1998 through 2004, for supporting the Bush tax cuts and deregulation of banks and brokerages, which he argued helped lead to the economic meltdown.

Toomey said he admired Sestak's creative mind, but said his opponent did not understand the financial system. The real threat to the economy, he said, is in the billions of dollars spent on bailouts for banks and the auto industry, along with the economic stimulus and now a health-care regime that he said were all pushing the deficit to stratospheric levels. "Some people believe if you are productive and successful you should get soaked and get soaked hard. I just don't believe in that," Toomey said. He said productive companies and entrepreneurs create jobs. "We need to prevent this radical Democratic agenda, get spending under control, and cut taxes where we can, and we'll see the economy come roaring back," he said.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer coverage of 2010 PA Senate Debates , Apr 12, 2010

Strengthen economy via lower taxes & less spending

Sestak and Toomey had agreed to debate on the economy, although only about half of the questions from the audience focused on that topic. "Well, it all relates to the economy," one audience member noted.

The two candidates found some common ground on questions geared toward the economy. Both said federal spending needs to be reduced.

"When I was (in Congress) I was fighting against the spending that was going on," said Toomey.

Sestak said he would like to see the government extend help to the group he says drives the economy--"The working family, not Wall Street"--by getting tax cuts to that group.

Sestak said he does not support the flat tax as he said Toomey does, and the government should look to guarantee community bank loans to entice borrowers.

Toomey said he believes in strengthening the economy through lower taxes, less spending and increasing domestic energy production.

Source: The Express-Times coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate , Apr 11, 2010

Voted YES on restricting bankruptcy rules.

Vote to pass the bill that would require debtors who are able to pay back $10,000 or 25 percent of their debts over five years to file under Chapter 13, rather then seeking to discharge their debts under Chapter 7. Chapter 13, calls for a reorganization of debts under a repayment plan. A Debtor would be restricted, in this bill, to a total exemption of $125,000 in home equity for residences bought within 40 months of a bankruptcy filing. The bill also would establish permanent and retroactive Chapter 12 bankruptcy relief for farmers.
Reference: Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act; Bill S 1920 ; vote number 2004-10 on Jan 28, 2004

Allow $3 on 1040 form to pay off National Debt.

Toomey co-sponsored allowing $3 on 1040 form to pay off National Debt

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Amends the Internal Revenue Code to permit an individual to designate three dollars on his or her income tax return (six dollars on a joint return) to be used to reduce the public debt of the United States.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT: Pres. Eisenhower apparently once said that he believed that there could be no surplus as long as our Nation was in debt. I come from that school of thought, and yet that is not exactly where we are right now in Washington.

Where we are right now is debating whether or not 90 percent or 50 percent, or some number in between, of these projected future surpluses should be allocated to the debt. What struck me is the fact that really more than just the Congress should be involved in that debate. It is for that reason that I introduce today the Taxpayers' Choice Debt Reduction Act.

What this bill would do would be to simply take the 1040, the tax return as we now know it. And right now, we can send $3 to the presidential campaign. This would create another box wherein we could send 3 bucks to debt reduction. That is not enough money to change our national debt, but it is enough money to make a small step in an important debate that we all ought to be a part of.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means; never called for a House vote.

Source: Taxpayers' Choice Debt Reduction Act (H.R.5349) 00-HR5349 on Sep 29, 2000

Supports the Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge.

Toomey signed the Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge to limit government

[The Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge is sponsored by a coalition of several hundred Tea Party, limited-government, and conservative organizations].

Despite our nation's staggering $14.4 trillion debt, there are many Members of the U.S. House and Senate who want to raise our nation's debt limit without making permanent reforms in our fiscal policies. We believe that this is a fiscally irresponsible position that would place America on the Road to Ruin. At the same time, we believe that the current debate over raising the debt limit provides a historic opportunity to focus public attention, and then public policy, on a path to a balanced budget and paying down our debt.

We believe that the "Cut, Cap, Balance" plan for substantial spending cuts in FY 2012, a statutory spending cap, and Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution is the minimum necessary precondition to raising the debt limit. The ultimate goal is to get us back to a point where increases in the debt limit are no longer necessary. If you agree, take the Cut, Cap, Balance Pledge!

    I pledge to urge my Senators and Member of the House of Representatives to oppose any debt limit increase unless all three of the following conditions have been met:
  1. Cut: Substantial cuts in spending that will reduce the deficit next year and thereafter.
  2. Cap: Enforceable spending caps that will put federal spending on a path to a balanced budget.
  3. Balance: Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- but only if it includes both a spending limitation and a super-majority for raising taxes, in addition to balancing revenues and expenses.
Source: Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge 12-CCB on Jan 1, 2012

Audit the Federal Reserve & its actions on mortgage loans.

Toomey co-sponsored Federal Reserve Transparency Act

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act directs: