Text of Republican weekly radio address
Rep. Gerald Solomon, R-New YorkJuly 5, 1997
Web posted at: 3:46 p.m. EDT (1946 GMT)
This is Congressman Gerry Solomon from upstate New York.
My district office is only a stone's throw from probably the most important battle in America's history, the battle of Saratoga. That battle turned the tide in our war for independence, a war fought over no taxation without representation and for the independence we're all celebrating this weekend.
Well, we celebrate something that's a lot more than just a battle. Every 4th of July, we celebrate an ideal, one that still stands and draws people from every continent, every nation, every race and religion to our shores.
That ideal is the freedom to make the choices that affect our lives and to take care of our own. And with that ideal go the virtues, all American virtues, of pride, patriotism, volunteerism and a love of God, family, neighbor and country. But our grasp for that ideal has been weakened.
What happened is that the federal government started making many of those choices for us. And sure enough, the federal government grew to a size and took on things that would have shocked George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
These were the most learned and well read men of the age, of any age. They knew what happened to great nations that were crushed under the burden of excessive taxes and a government that became the master, not the servant, of the people. They knew there are many things a government cannot do well and should not do at all.
The Founding Fathers designed a government with limited and defined powers. But that idea has been turned on its head. Instead of the government doing only what the Constitution allows it to do, it does what ever the Constitution does not forbid it to do. That's a big difference my friends.
What the Founding Fathers could not even comprehend is the idea of Americans paying more in taxes than they do for food and shelter. They couldn't even begin to comprehend the idea of the American people working six months of the year just to pay for the cost of government. And that's why it's such a shame that cost of government day should be so late this year, July 3, just one day before Independence Day.
That's right. We've worked every day this year just to pay our taxes. And yes, somewhere along the way, we've gotten off track, but not so far that we couldn't get back on it again. The very political system the Founding Fathers built with such genius and care, also contains the means of recovery. And the Republican Congress took some major strides towards that recovery just this past week.
The nation was built on the idea that through hard work anybody could achieve the American dream, but that idea never included married couples working so many hours, and so many jobs, to pay for so many federal programs. It never included burying those couples and their children and their grandchildren under a mountain of debt. That's the logical result of a philosophy that believes for every problem, there is a government solution.
Our Republican philosophy is different. We'd rather shrink the welfare class and put the American dream of financial security and independence within the reach of as many middle class people as possible.
Two things need to be emphasized. The first is that the 75 percent of the benefits of the Republican Taxpayer Relief Act just passed, goes to the middle class that make less than $75,000 a year. Second, the Republican Taxpayer Relief Act is geared to every taxpayer at every stage of life. For those of you who have children, there is a $500 per child tax credit. If you have three children, that's $1,500 more in your pocket to help you pay the mortgage.
Those same families will be getting $32 billion in tax relief for education costs to educate our children. You'll be getting penalty free withdrawals from your IRAs to pay those educational costs. And those same parents and everybody else who has worked hard, and tried their best to save for their retirement don't want their hard earned savings confiscated by oppressive capital gains taxes and inheritance taxes that steal away our dreams. At least 77 percent of those who claim a capital gain on their tax returns, have incomes of less than $75,000 a year.
And we're not talking about millionaires here. We're talking about people like grandparents who owned a house for years, reared their children in that house and then decades later they want to sell it when it becomes too much of a burden. That's why the Republican tax package includes broad based capital gains tax relief that will help 2 million older Americans.
Specifically, we exclude the capital gains tax on the sale of a home up to $500,000 for married couples and $250,000 for individuals. And who knows, perhaps a chance to buy that same home will be possible to a young couple because the Republican Tax Relief Bill expanding IRAs will include first time home buyer purchases.
We also want to help this small business owner whose years of hard work and sacrifice were driven by a very human motive, the dream of passing that business on to sons and daughters. That's why the Republican Tax Relief Bill includes increasing the exemption on estate taxes from $600,000 to $1 million.
Can you believe there are some who wanted to reduce that $200,000? Not even death it seems, puts us outside the reach of the tax collector.
Is it fair that people who pay no taxes get tax credits worth up to $4,000 while middle income workers with heavy tax burdens are not eligible for any tax relief? Let's face it. Those middle income Americans are not under taxed. They are over taxed because Washington spends too much of our money. But Washington is going to have spend a lot less.
The Republican budget just passed, calls for $700 billion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. For the first time in 25 years, we're making able-bodied people on welfare have to go to work just like the rest of us.
The first major tax cut in 16 years, the first balanced budget since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, and saving Medicare from bankruptcy for another 10 years. Sometimes many things come together at one time and last week was one of those times.
The Republican Congress not only cut spending by $700 billion over the next 10 years, but it slashed your federal taxes by $250 billion and put that money back in your pocket so that you can spend it the way you want instead of the federal government spending it for you.
Yes, on July 4th, 1776, we won the battle of independence from oppressive taxation and today, 221 years later, the Republican Congress has just won another battle to restore a larger chunk of that freedom from taxation to you. What a wonderful way to celebrate the 4th of July.
Happy 4th everybody.
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