Amendment would ban spending growth that exceeds economy's growth

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By Congressman Virgil Goode

The House of Representatives has an opportunity to take a stand for controlling spending by the federal government.

The Spending Limit Amendment is part of the legislation known as the Taxpayers Bill of Rights. It is the belief of many of us in the House that the burden on American taxpayers is not considered by the Congressional majority as it engages in deficit spending. For instance, reports have been issued showing that the amount that the government spends annually per household has risen from $19,000 in 2000 to $24,000 in 2007. That’s an increase of more than 25 percent, and it is the highest level of spending per household since World War Two.

This increasing amount of debt threatens the standard of living for our children and grandchildren. According to the report, by 2040, taxes would have to double in order to pay for all the spending that will compound if the federal budget is simply left on auto pilot - and - if no more additional spending is created.

Under the Spending Limit Amendment, spending would not be allowed to grow faster than the economy. This spending limit is meant to provide real restraint and encompasses all federal spending. Provisions of the amendment could be suspended if a declaration of war is in effect or if there is a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress.

It should be noted that if this amendment is passed, it will place a cap on spending by the federal government, not a floor. Thus, Congress could decide to spend less in a fiscal year, something that many of us believe should be done.

Consumer fraud and identity theft continues to be the top complaint registered with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC says that 800,000 such complaints were filed in 2007, and these consumers reported losses of $1.2 billion. Credit card fraud was the most common form of reported identity theft, followed by phone or utilities fraud, employment fraud and bank fraud.

The FTC breaks down the fraud reporting by states. In Virginia in 2007, there were 14,733 fraud complaints. They involved shop-at-home and catalog sales; Internet services; foreign money offers; prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries; and computer equipment and software. The total amount of loss reported by Virginians who filed complaints was almost $16.6 million.

It is important to remember not to give any of your personal information to any who calls or e-mails. For instance, the IRS, a bank or any other reputable company will not ask for any personal information over the phone or in an e-mail. Should you get such a contact, notify the nearest law enforcement agency immediately.

Please keep in touch with me on issues that are important to you. You may write Congressman Virgil Goode, 70 East Court Street, Room 215, Rocky Mount, VA 24151; or fax to 1-540-484-1459; or call toll-free to the Danville office, 1-800-535-4008.