Congressman With Massive Debts Argues Federal Government Must Have Balanced Budget

A Republican Congressman on the House Budget Committee whose car dealership has at least $2.5 million in debts insisted on Wednesday that companies and individuals must balance their budgets “every single day.” The comments came during a day-long hearing about Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) spending plan, which achieves balance within 10 years.

“I’m a small business owner,” Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX), began. “I have owned and operated my business for over 41 years and I still operate it,” he said, before linking the government’s budget to the financial well-being of families and businesses and suggesting that the federal books should resemble the practices of every day Americans:

WILLIAMS: We have to have a balanced budget. I have to balance my budget. Everybody in America has to balance their family’s budget or their business’ budget, not every ten years, not even every single year, but every single day…. If we apply the same principals in families and businesses use every single day we will ensure that America’s best days are ahead and we will stay the most powerful country militarily and economically.

But businesses and individuals don’t balance their budgets each day. They routinely take out mortgages, business and student loans, reasoning that an investment made today in college education or a new equipment can lead to greater returns down the road. Williams’ own Chrystler car dealership has a long line of credit and a note payable and by definition does not maintain a balanced budget. From the Williams’ financial disclosure form:


The federal economy is fundamentally different from household budgets and economic data and history suggest that the government should be spending more, not less given the current economic circumstances. After all, overall government spending has plateaued under Obama after rising sharply under George W. Bush and the resulting fiscal contraction has resulted in a lower recovery.