“He’s added more debt than [George W.] Bush did in 8 years in 4 years,” Johnson, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said of Obama.
“Was I happy about the deficit spending that Bush was incurring? No, not at all,” he told TheDC at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
Johnson pointed out that the federal deficit stood at $162 billion in 2007 when the Democrats took control of Congress during the Bush presidency. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the 2012 deficit will reach $1.1 trillion by the end of this year.
The 2007 number “almost sounds quaint in comparison to the $1.4, $1.3 and now probably $1.1 to $1.2 trillion we’ve experienced over the last four years,” said Johnson.
President Obama proposed the so-called “Buffett rule” this year, which would require millionaires to pay no less than 30 percent in federal income taxes. The bill did not make it out of Congress, but allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire for families earning less than $250,000 per year remains a central part of Obama’s re-election campaign.
“Do you know how much the Buffett tax would raise in four years? $20 billion,” Johnson told TheDC. “$20 billion does not stabilize $5,300 billion [$5.3 trillion]; one year of [the] Buffett rule would raise about $5 billion which pays for about 11 hours of government spending.”
“Yet the President of the United States is telling Americans — misleading Americans, let’s use the right word, lying to Americans — about what his tax proposals would do in terms of fixing the problem. It won’t fix the problem. It will just punish success. It will just hamper our ability to grow our economy.”
In a campaign ad released last month, Obama said “to cut the deficit, we need everyone to pay their fair share.” Senator Johnson holds a different view.
“I would argue that the minute Republicans agreed to increase tax rates on the top 1 percent or top 5 percent or whatever, you know whatever, over $250,000, over $1 million, the next day President Obama and his allies would be saying, ‘they’re not paying their fair share. They need to pay more.’ Maybe they’d wait a month, you know? Probably wouldn’t,” Johnson told TheDC.
“There’s no way of ever satisfying that beast. … It will harm the economy. It’s not going to solve our fiscal situation. It’s not going to close the deficit gap.”