During a town hall meeting in Pompano Beach, Fla., Rep. Allen West (R-FL) said something that turned a few heads: that he’s willing to talk tax increases as a means of balancing the budget but only after wasteful spending and other fraud has been weeded out.
“How can we balance the budget without raising taxes?” one attendee asked.
“There are many things we can do in Washington DC. Last year, as a wet-behind-the-ears freshman, by April I found three wasteful programs in the Department of Defense. It saved the American taxpayer $357 million over 10 years,” Rep. West responded.
“But, the question is this: If every single member in the House of Representatives, every single member in the Senate, went in on the committee of jurisdiction and oversight and they did the same thing, find $350 million in wasteful programs over the next 10 years, get it and eliminate it, think what happens for our budget,” he added. “We get ourselves on the road to being able to balance this thing.”
And this is the part that a few left-leaning sites claim is a concession on the part of Rep. West [emphasis added]:
Now, once we get to a point where we have waxed out the federal government, we have eliminated a lot of that waste, fraud, and abuse, then it certainly comes to the American people to talk about raising taxes as a means to make sure we keep our debt and our deficit at a manageable level.
However, he added an important piece of clarification: “[R]ight now isn’t the time to raise taxes.”
“When you have a debt at 102 percent, I’m not going to come to you and ask you to raise your taxes. I’m going to our work, look at where we can cut back, to get ourselves back…responsibly,” he added, according to POLITICO.
Watch Rep. West's remarks (via Thinkprogress):