Our Nation's Economic Outlook

Floor Speech

Date: March 8, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I am going to pause here for 5 seconds, and I will tell you why.

I did that to note something. I did that because I want to note that our Federal Government just spent $1 million in 5 seconds--$1 million. By the time I finish this speech, the government will have spent over $50 million. By the time my colleagues finish their speeches, that figure will be in the hundreds of millions.

As it stands right now, our government is spending $197,000 per second, which as a recent publication by the America First Policy Institute points out, is faster than the speed of light.

Let's look at this graphic here real quick.

My staff just ran this up on the copy machine because I wanted to blow it up. This is a post by the AFPI. They point out the fastest things on the Earth, and they note that we are actually spending right now faster than the speed of light. The speed of light is 186,282 miles per second. We are spending $197,000 per second.

Our national debt is well over $31 trillion right now--$31 trillion.

Now, if those figures alarm you, Mr. Speaker, you are not alone. Everybody on our side of the aisle is deeply concerned about this. We understand what a risk it is to our national security and to the stability of our constitutional Republic.

However, you won't find anyone--hardly anyone, I think--on the other side of the aisle who understands this or agrees with it. I mean, based upon their voting records, based upon their proposals to continue to raise taxes and raise spending, based upon some of the speeches they gave here on the floor tonight, they don't get it, and neither does the mainstream media. That ought to be of even greater concern to you.

Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office released a frightening report. All Members of Congress in a bipartisan fashion met in the congressional auditorium this afternoon to hear the CBO Director relay some of this really frightening information.

It is about our economic outlook. If you haven't heard about it yet, it is because really the media is not covering this. The 24-hour news cycle buries it for the next big thing, but there is hardly anything bigger than this.

Let me give you a couple of the highlights that came out of that briefing this afternoon:

Number one: Net interest on our national debt will reach $10.5 trillion over the next decade.

Now, I know these numbers are big and it is sort of hard to grasp them, but you think about $10.5 trillion over the next 10 years. For reference, listen to this: since 1940 the total net interest payments on our national debt has been $12.9 trillion, adjusted for inflation. Since 1940.

In the next 10 years, we are going to spend $10.5 trillion just on interest alone. It is staggering. Our national debt is going to reach $154 trillion by 2053--$150-plus trillion. That equals $540,000 per household when you adjust for inflation. That is more than four times the current median household income.

Deficits are going to average--average--$2 trillion annually, or 6.1 percent of our gross domestic product over the next 10 years. The government had a lower deficit than this every single year from 1945 to 2009. The cost of the annual interest will balloon from $350 billion to $1.4 trillion in just a decade. That is 20 cents of every tax dollar that is collected by this Federal Government is going to go to paying interest on America's debt.

Mr. Speaker, we are in uncharted economic waters. We have never seen anything like this. Our country has only faced an economic threat like this during times of war and pandemic. If you only listen to the media and Democrat politicians, all of our colleagues over here, you would think there is really no issue at all.

I mean, the Biden administration continues to portray this rosy outlook. They were saying it today: the state of the economy isn't so bad. We are doing well. We are trending in the right direction, they say. That is absolutely not true.

The CBO, by the way, is a nonpartisan entity. They don't choose a side. They just came in and presented the objective facts to Republicans and Democrats because we want to make everybody face this harsh reality.

President Biden has touted that his administration ``cut $1.7 trillion of the deficit.'' He says that is evidence that he is really serious about the national debt, but that is obviously fiction as well. That reduction naturally occurred with the statutory end of the increased spending that Congress approved to combat COVID-19. That wasn't because of any shrewd economic policy from the White House. It is exactly the opposite.

Speaking of economic madness, you know, tomorrow the President is expected to release his 2023 budget proposal. It is more than a month late. Every news report, all the early ones, suggest that his budget is replete with trillions of dollars in new taxes, raising taxes in the middle of an inflation crisis that he created; more spending on frivolous, liberal pet policies and projects and no plan at all to reduce the deficit.

For the first time in his Presidency, he won't have a Democrat rubber stamp over here. He won't have the Democrats in charge of this House to go along with that destructive agenda.

Mr. Speaker, the American people made their voices heard when they gave Republicans control of this House, and we are going to do our job. They have entrusted our new majority to provide a much-needed check on the Biden administration, and that starts with the power of the purse.

Over the next few months, the discourse around here is going to intensify. There is going to be some heated debate. It is likely to get off track with squabbles about everything from defense spending to earmarks, but House Republicans will not lose sight through this of the bigger picture. We are going to rein in spending and inflation because we must. We are going to promote responsible budgeting because we must. We are going to chart our country on a course back to fiscal sanity. It is the duty of every Member of this body to do so.

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to yield to a number of my colleagues tonight who will participate in this Special Order hour, talking about lots of important things on the hearts and minds of the American people. I just want to suggest that the debt is one of those.


Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for highlighting that really important issue. The WOTUS rule has gotten completely out of control.


Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for his service as a police officer, law enforcement, and also now in Congress. We are delighted to have you.


Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for that wise counsel. It is about responsibility, and the gentleman said it so well.


Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his remarks; that was so well said. The gentleman is a great orator, and I love how he laid out the case methodically. That is what a former U.S. attorney from the Western District of Tennessee would do.

Facts are stubborn things, as John Adams said.


Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his remarks. The regulatory environment is just out of control, and that recent Supreme Court opinion of West Virginia v. EPA came out on our side, and I think that some of these agencies will begin to have their wings clipped a bit, and hopefully this WOTUS rule will be handled appropriately. I thank the gentleman for highlighting that important issue.


Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, it is a harsh truth, and we have to address it. My colleague is right. As he implied there, the inevitable result of living beyond our means today is that we and our children inevitably are going to have to live below our means tomorrow.

We are going to have higher debt, higher taxes, less security, less opportunity. It is not going to be the same America that we have always known and valued. It is a harsh truth.


Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman, and I point out, as he said, that our resolution blocking those crazy changes to D.C.'s criminal code was so strong that even Joe Biden couldn't agree to veto it. We are doing the right thing. We must continue, and we will.

I am grateful to my Republican colleagues for joining me for this Special Order hour.