Congressman Bob Latta joins Vantage students Erica Sullivan (Continental), Cailah Rickard (Continental), Cole Ketchum (Parkway) and Alex Schnipke (Ottoville), along with High School director Ben Winans and Career Tech Supervisor Ted Verhoff for lunch in the Cup & Saucer Restaurant on Monday. (Submitted photo)
Congressman Bob Latta joins Vantage students Erica Sullivan (Continental), Cailah Rickard (Continental), Cole Ketchum (Parkway) and Alex Schnipke (Ottoville), along with High School director Ben Winans and Career Tech Supervisor Ted Verhoff for lunch in the Cup & Saucer Restaurant on Monday. (Submitted photo)

BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
egebert@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT -- U.S. Congressman Bob Latta toured Van Wert County on Monday making more than a half-dozen stops in the county, including a visit to the offices of the Times Bulletin before heading to Mercer County for some evening meetings there.

Visiting on the day before income tax is due to the Internal Revenue Service, Rep. Latta had plenty to say about taxes.

"The big problem we have with taxes is doing something about the federal debt and the deficit," he declared. "We just passed our budget our of the House, and with that budget we said, 'We've got to get this thing to balance in ten years.' None of the Democrats' budgets would balance... ever! But what they did do was to raise taxes and increase spending. The only way we're going to get this reversed is to hold the line on spending and don't raise taxes.

The situation with taxes and spending spell trouble for our nation's finances, according to Latta. The U.S. owe $5.8 trillion to other countries, and Latta noted that $221 billion each year goes just toward paying the interest on the debt and that the Congressional Budget Office is predicting that by 2024, that amount will quadruple -- to $888 billion.

The congressman also railed against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the limits the increased tax costs are putting on small business. Latta said there are 21 new taxes in the Affordable Care Act, and 12 of those are aimed at the middle class. Using the example of a trucking company owner he had spoken with, Latta the rising taxes keep him from expanding the business.

"They're not going to be able to buy another truck or put another driver on the road. They're not going forward, they're going backward. And that's just not the way to go," he stated, shaking his head.

Calling Obama's claims about the new health care system, "a lie," Latta pointed to the president's tactics in pushing back the full effect of the law by using executive orders.

"What the president has done in changing Obamacare is pretty much because of the election year," Latta related. "The Democrats are saying they don't want to be on the ballot with this thing crushing them, so he's done about 40 waiver, delays, etc. on his own law. And I don't think that's legal. It's a law!"

Latta also criticized the president's leadership in the dispute with Russia over Crimea and the Ukraine.

He stated, "The president has abdicated a lot of his leadership when you look at Libya and Syria. You've got to show some leadership. When people think of leaders, you think of Ronald Reagan... when the Soviets were dealing with Reagan, they knew they were dealing with a leader. But now Putin has come to the conclusion that he can do anything he wants, and he won't be stopped."

He went on to say, "One of the things the president isn't doing that he should be doing is encouraging the United States to become the leader in energy production in the world. I've had meetings with European ambassadors and they've all said the same thing: 'We have got to have U.S. energy.' Some of those countries are 70, 80, or 100 percent dependent on Russian energy."

The congressman pointed out that Obama has been opposing increasing American energy production increases at a time when just the opposite is needed.

The good news, Latta reported, is the spirit of businesspeople he has talked to throughout the U.S. 5th Congressional District. However, the potential for these business owners is being held back.

"Overall, people are saying,' We're ready to take off, just give us that window of opportunity.' People are doing everything they can to up production," he declared. "If it wasn't for Washington, the economy would really be taking off. Federal regulations add approximately $1.8 trillion in administration costs according to the Small Business Administration."

The solution, according to Latta, is, "The president has to say, 'We need more jobs, not fewer.' We need 150,000 jobs created each month just for people entering the workforce. A lot of folks out there are working hard
I just feel there is a good undercurrent out of there of people who want to take off. But we've got to get the federal government and the administration to agree to let them go."