The Math Will Always Win

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 7, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SCHWEIKERT. Madam Speaker, forgive me as I get myself somewhat organized as is the chaos when you use lots of boards.

Madam Speaker, we are going to sort of do something in sort of a continuation on a theme.

A couple weeks ago, I was behind the microphones here, and it is something I have done a lot, and I walked through just how much trouble we are in as a society. The debt is coming, and it turns out that debt is not Democrat or Republican, it is demographics; we got old.

But before I start to walk through what I believe is the thought process of the solutions that actually can save us, I am going to ask some favors of anyone who is crazy enough to give us time to watch some of this.

I actually do read the comments when these things are put out on social media. When you look around the room, there is almost no one here, but we are on several hundred televisions right now around the campus. Right now in offices in the buildings there are young people working on policy papers who have this on their screen. This is part of the way we communicate with each other. There is a purpose.

The second thing I am going to ask, as I start to walk through these ideas, is open your minds. Some of these will offend Republicans. Some are going to offend Democrats. But the math, the math is true. And the family motto: ``The math will always win.''

There is hope out there, but every single day this place continues to operate like a clown show. And I am sorry, that was very mean to clowns. Being sarcastic and being mean, the scale of what is coming at us and the immorality of not dealing with it terrifies me. So we are going to do a quick recap.

The next 30 years--and these are last year's CBO numbers, this is before inflation has been calculated in--we functionally have, and the newest one was 114, this one is $116 trillion of borrowed money coming. That is in today's dollars.

So think about that. On this board we are going to borrow $116 trillion or $114 trillion. We have about $1.9 trillion--we are in the positive.

So where is all the borrowing coming from?

Every dime of borrowing over the next 30 years, 75 percent of it is Medicare, 25 is a shortfall in Social Security.

That is immoral. But it is math. We got old. Baby boomers started retiring. It is math.

How many conversations have happened on the floor today saying: Hey, this is going to drive all public policy because it is going to consume every dollar?

This is the reality.

Madam Speaker, we are in the process of adopting a little boy right now. He is 5 months old. He has been with us since his first few days of life. It is a joy. When he turns 25, we have to double--his tax rate will have to have doubled what we all pay, and that is just to maintain the baseline of services.

So if you think about where you are going to be 20 years from now, Madam Speaker, 25 years from now, are you ready to pay double the taxes?

We make businesses actually do disclosures now saying: Well, global warming, environmental change, you should have to disclose that.

Damn it, should those same businesses have to disclose the fact that their tax rates are doubling over the next couple of decades?

It is baked in the cake. It is this math. Unless you have a revolution in two areas: crashing the cost of healthcare and economic growth. And growth is moral. Think about the end of 2017, 2018, and 2019 when the poor got dramatically less poor, the middle class got much more prosperous, and income inequality shrank dramatically. It is moral.

In this place we are going to fight over the stupidest things because it is easy to understand, it is theatrical, and I have $100-plus trillion of crushing debt coming on top of the $31 trillion already out there, and that is going to crush all of you.

If you think you are retiring, Madam Speaker, if you think my little boy or my 7-year-old girl, when they hit their peak earning years, are going to live more prosperous than we do, then we need to engage in some sort thought revolution, and that is what I am asking everyone to give me. I am going to do this in a couple of series, so this is going to be over a couple of nights. But I also need you to understand how dangerous it is.

Debt markets are smart. Those debt markets out there where we are having to borrow trillions see Congress is actually starting to take this stuff seriously, we will be benefited by the price of money into the future.

Right now they don't think we are taking it seriously.

Do understand, Madam Speaker, if interest rates on U.S. sovereign debt go up 2 points--my math says about 25 years, this board was actually originally off a print that said 30 years--then every single dime of U.S. tax receipts goes just to cover interest. We need to take a step back and think about that. We are piling on so much debt, and the curve expands. In about a decade, we are running into almost structural $2-trillion-a-year deficits, and it gets bigger from there.

It is demographics. Almost every dime of that borrowing--75 percent will be Medicare and 25 percent will be Social Security--yet around here we will beat the crap out of each other for even mentioning Social Security and Medicare. But to save it is to actually understand the math.

What would happen if we don't convince debt markets that we are going to take this debt seriously?

The CBO model that was a year ago was, hey, the mean interest rate on U.S. sovereigns is going to be like 1.78. Now it is like 2.8. But if it remained around 4, you do realize, Madam Speaker, in two decades every dime just goes to interest. This is what we are handing to our kids.

So I also need to crush some of the stupidity out there. I accept the political class in our campaigns and those things, there has been a certain lack of truthfulness. Democrats will say: Well, let's tax rich people.

Do you realize, Madam Speaker, if you took every billionaire in America and took every dime they had--every dime, and the price of their yachts didn't crash--if you took every dime, then you could run the government for maybe 7\1/2\ months. Now, you would crash us into a massive depression. The scale of this spending and the debt is just ginormous. I love that word.

But also for us on the conservative side, we often have our people who get behind the microphone and say: If we got rid of foreign aid; get rid of every dime of foreign aid.

Last year I think foreign aid is about $38 billion. Let's see, last year we were borrowing $26 billion, $26,444,000,000 every week. So get rid of every dime of foreign aid, that is what, 10\1/2\, 11 days?

What are you going to do with the rest of the year?

Think of that. Every dime of foreign aid, maybe 11, 12 days of borrowing; and remember, our borrowing is going to double functionally over the next 10 years.

We need to tell the truth about the scale. So if I get one more person on my side saying: Well, if we got rid of waste and fraud or foreign aid; or they say: Just tax the rich people more--the math doesn't work. It is great campaign rhetoric and looks good in a brochure.

So you saw in the first chart we have $114 trillion of borrowing, and that is last year's number before inflation coming.

There are solutions. So let's actually start to be optimistic because there is hope. But we first also have to have that moment of reality. Stop talking about things that are rounding errors. We should still do some of them, like price transparency. Many of us on the Republican side believe very much that you should know what the price of everything in healthcare is.

Great. Let's do it. But the best academic study says: Well, maybe about 1 percent, 0.1 to 0.7 is what the academic studies said if you have price transparency because we have the third-party payer system.

It doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. But don't think it makes that big of a deal in a society while I have healthcare markets around the United States that just had 16 percent inflation. Think of that. The healthcare costs in some of these markets went up 16 percent.

Madam Speaker, if you want to see a lot of detail, go to Brian Riddell's charts, Manhattan Institute. This is one of them. It talks about all the different ideas, both particularly from the right and mostly from left: If we did this sort of tax, then here is how much more tax we get over a decade of GDP.

When you start to add it up, then you start to realize that none of these get you even close. If you double the tax rate, take people and move them from 35 to 50 to 60 to 70 percent tax rate, then you don't get anything. And that is without an attempt to do the economic effects because there is a math reality that those ones in the tax world--I am on the Committee of Ways and Means--and it is for 100-plus years.

When we lower taxes, we basically seem to get about that 18, 19 percent of GDP, the size of the economy, in taxes. When we have raised taxes in the United States, you seem to get about that 18 or 19 percent of GDP in taxes. It is math, and you have got lots of history on this. So when you have raised taxes, we are still getting this size, much of the economy, but the economy gets smaller. When you have lower taxes, the economy gets bigger, and you get this percentage.

It turns out that right now we are getting almost $1 trillion more in receipts, revenues, and taxes than we were getting just a couple of years ago. A lot of that is based on the growth that came after tax reform. A lot of it was the amazing amount of government spending here that we had some of that stimulus that we are going to take some taxes in on money we put out; we still have to borrow the money, so we are screwed from that--sorry, an economic term. But the fact of the matter is, a lot of the folks who predicted: Oh, revenues are going to crash.

They didn't. Society got much more productive.

Expensing turns out to be most valuable thing in tax reform because it forced us to do investment and growth. At one point we will talk about that.

So let's talk about right now the primary driver of U.S. debt over the next 30 years. Some reality: 5 percent of our brothers and sisters are over 50 percent of all of our healthcare spending. Now, these are our friends, our neighbors, and our family members who have multiple chronic conditions.

The majority of healthcare spending comes through government. The majority of this population is getting their healthcare through government. If this is the primary driver of costs in our society and the primary driver of debt, wouldn't we think about what we can do about that 5 percent of our society that is out there suffering?

It is worth thinking about.

So if I came to you right now, Madam Speaker, and said: Let our ideas we have out there that are doable in divided government that won't scare people too much or won't bring the armies of lobbyists down saying: Oh, we are screwing up their business model, but also have that morality of actually potentially working and doing something good--I am going to start with something really simple and then get more complicated--what would happen, Madam Speaker, if I came to all of us and said: Did you know that it is estimated that 16 percent of all healthcare spending is people just not taking their meds?

So I have hypertension. I take a calcium inhibitor. I don't stroke out, and it is a really, really, cheap, cheap pill. As long as you take it, it is incredibly effective.

Madam Speaker, how many people do you know who take statins for their cholesterol?

There are drug regimens where if you take them and take them according to the prescription, you are healthy, and you are safe. But when you don't, you stroke out, and that costs hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It turns out that is 16 percent of all healthcare spending. You do realize that is over a half a trillion dollars a year in healthcare spending.

So why wouldn't we have a conversation around this place and say: Okay, we all walk around with these little supercomputers in our pocket, we have seen these studies now saying that people not adhering to their pharmaceutical regimen to stay stable is over 16 percent of healthcare spending, why wouldn't you do something silly like a solution?

It turns out that they have pill bottle caps that beep at you if you don't open them in the morning. When you are really busy running around saying, oh, I forgot to take my calcium inhibitor for my hypertension, the thing is beeping at you. The other ones also will beep at your phone.

I know this sounds silly, but could you imagine, instead of 16 percent of healthcare being the cost of people having not maintained theirs, we cut it in half? That is $250 billion, $300 billion a year, and it would have been what, a $0.99 to $2 pill bottle cap that beeps at you, or the one that dispenses for grandma her mixture of pills that she is having trouble remembering.

We are walking through simple ideas that could pass here. Why wouldn't we have this discussion? There are other derivatives and discussions that make people uncomfortable, like for high-priced medicines. Put them in sterile packaging so if someone passes away, they can go back to the health co-op or whatever is out there and reuse them. There are all sorts of these ideas.

Think about something as simple as this. This is half a trillion dollars a year. For something you need, why wouldn't we invest and say, hey, put the pill bottle cap on that beeps at you if you don't open it in the morning? Is this simple enough conceptually?

There are ideas like this that have massive dollar impacts, and we never even discuss them because they are simple to absorb.

I have been here multiple times and talked about the item you can blow into. In our office, we have nicknamed it the flu kazoo because that was cute, people got it, but it is a breath biopsy.

I showed it, I think, a couple of weeks ago on the floor, that there are all things where you can functionally have a medical lab in your home medicine cabinet.

But here is the disruption. This is what makes so many people angry. If I brought you something right now, for a couple hundred dollars, you could have it in your home medicine cabinet. You could blow into it and instantly tell you if you have the flu, instantly bang off your medical records, instantly order your antiviral, and Lyft or Uber could drop it off at your house in 2 hours. Wouldn't you like that?

For everyone here who talks about accessibility, remember, I just talked about having a little person at home. It is a lot easier to blow into that thing for the breath biopsy and get the prescription delivered than it is to go wait in an emergency room or try to get that doctor's appointment.

Believe it or not, that technology is illegal. The way our laws are set up right now, that disruptive technology is illegal. It is crazy.

Why wouldn't you allow that algorithm that statistically is more accurate than a human to write a prescription? Would it make your life better?


Mr. SCHWEIKERT. Excellent. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

This is part of what we are talking about: Legalize the technology that will make our lives easier, better, faster, raise accessibility, and, yes, it is going to cause a disruption.

If you are an investor in the urgent care system, you may not like telemedicine. You may not like these things. But how many of us used to go to Blockbuster Video, stand in line, and have the nice person hand us a suggestion on a movie because the one we really wanted wasn't there?

If they had hired enough lobbyists, would this place have slowed down the internet to keep Netflix?

I need you to think this way, and this is what I am asking anyone that is viewing. It is the reality of it, when you looked at that first slide, and we talked about trillions and trillions of that coming from just the shortfall in Medicare.

If this were 20 years ago or 25 years ago, you would have this debate with the left or the right. Well, we are going to do entitlement reform. No, we are not.

Does anyone remember the experience that this body had back in the early 2000s when someone was willing to talk about trying to save Social Security back then, and it became political ads, fundraising?

The math was true, but the politics were great to destroy then George Bush and the people that were willing to tell the truth about the math. This place will pay lip service, but it is not going to happen.

The path I am proposing is embracing what we have gotten really good at in this country. I mean, this is a supercomputer. Think of the power that is in this thing.

Yes, it is an iPhone. It is expensive. But it is--what?--10,000 times more powerful than the old IBM PC I used to have. Take that concept, and what would happen if we would legalize technology to crash the price of healthcare?

What is one of the biggest drivers of healthcare costs in the country? The number one? It is a little uncomfortable to talk about. It is diabetes.

The fact of the matter is 31 percent of all Medicare--Medicare, not Medicaid--Medicare spending is related to diabetes, and 33 percent of all healthcare spending is related to diabetes. It is crazy.

I represent a Tribal community that is actually pretty well off. They are incredibly well-managed, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Tribal community right alongside Scottsdale, and they have gaming, sports, and all sorts of other things.

They are very good at what they do, and they are the second highest per capita population, I think, in the world for diabetes. Their sister Tribe, Gila River, is number one.

Is it moral if I came to you right now and said, there is a path, and yes, it might not ultimately work, but there is a path out there of a stem cell treatment working with CRISPR where they have tagged it so you don't need antirejection drugs?

Yes, it is type 1, but there is a proof of concept that is starting to work where they have actually had a handful of Americans who they have been able to transfer the stem cells, and their islet cells are now producing insulin.

Remember, I just told you 33 percent of all healthcare spending is 31 percent of all Medicare. It would be the single biggest thing you could do for debt. It would also be one of the most moral things you could do for our brothers and sisters who are out there suffering, who are going blind and losing parts of their feet.

There is math out there that health may be one of the primary drivers of income inequality in society. You can't work if you have a family member who you are having to take care of because disease is ravaging them.

This is forcing the body to think differently, that if a cure is moral, but it is also really good economics and would help us take on the primary driver of our future debt with healthcare, why wouldn't you fixate on that 5 percent of our brothers and sisters that have chronic conditions that are over 50 percent of all healthcare spending?

The 31 percent that is actually Medicare, that is just diabetes. How about a Moonshot? If I came to you right now and said they are having some success, why can't we bring these?

I have been trying now, under Democrat control for a couple of years, and look. Being in the minority, we basically get told to go to hell. I will talk to my brothers and sisters on the Democrat side, and they say that is amazing but don't believe it.

Shouldn't we go out and build a bunch more diabetes centers? Great. You are going to help people manage their misery. How about curing it? Isn't this the moral thing to do?

By the way, it would be the single most powerful thing you could do for U.S. sovereign debt and my 5-month-old's economic future and your retirement.

This is just a taste of the disruptive ideas we are going to try to bring here over the next handful of times I get in front of the floor.

There is hope, but this body needs to start thinking that we care. This body needs to start acting like we give a damn. Instead, we spend so much time doing theater.

Look, I care a lot about what is on Hunter Biden's laptop. Well, not really. I do care about the media hiding it and screwing with our elections. That is important.

They mentioned at the end of the decade or so we are going to have $2 million a year deficit and it goes up from there.

You have got to decide: Are you going to save the Republic?

Are you going to embrace the morality of the prosperity?

Start understanding the science, the synthetic biology, the opportunities around us where we can cure people. Because I am going to argue that finding a path, whether it be the single shot cure that is now available for hemophilia, which is really expensive, but it cures hemophilia.

Now, we should probably come together as a body and say, hey, why don't we work out a financing mechanism so we can use the future savings to pay for the purchase of the drug today? Because wouldn't that be the moral thing to do. And, oh, by the way, it gets rid of that chronic condition.

Sickle cell anemia, we are so close. There are so many things out there where--we talk about the lack of productivity in society.

What would happen if we cured so many of our brothers and sisters so that they are able to participate in the economics?

Part of this closing here--we are going to talk about sort of the unified theory to save the country. Part of that unified theory--this is the economics--is embracing the technology. And yes, disruption is scary and it may mess up your business model, but it is moral.

Talking about immigration--really hard--but the fact of the matter is, importing poverty by open borders crushes the working poor because now that is who they are competing with. We need talent.

With the fertility rates all across the western world, in the next couple decades there is going to be a fight for smart people.

Over here is a tax code that fixates on growth. Maybe it is time to stop subsidizing, importing stuff from other countries, and functionally taxing ourselves to send things out of the country.

You realize, we functionally crush ourselves in the way we design our tax code today? Why wouldn't you flip that, so you incentivize? Make it here.

The other thing is regulatory. If I came to you tomorrow and said you could crowdsource air quality, you don't need buildings full of paperwork shoved in file cabinets. You could make the air cleaner, better, faster.

Things like what happened to the water in Detroit or other places-- actually it wasn't Detroit. Sorry, I am from out West--but the little thing that you are able to sample your water or the thing you can put on your lapel.

Madam Speaker, I am going to beg of us, and I am going to bring boards talking about there is technology around us where we can crush the size of the bureaucracy to get cleaner, better, faster, healthier, and grow. And the growth is moral and the growth gives us a path to not be crushed by the debt that is coming with that.

Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.