Five hundred thousand jobs lost last month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average teetering at 8,000, and home prices continuing to plummet - to say our economy is in need of repair would be quite the understatement.
The great challenge before Congress and President Obama must be met with an equal response. However, we must work together to craft a stimulus plan that can have a real and immediate impact on the families and businesses of our nation.
This shared responsibility to act must not be lost on our new President or on this Congress.
During his inaugural address, the President called for bold and swift action to "create new jobs to lay a new foundation for growth."
But at what cost to future generations?
Every cent of the massive $825 billion spending package will be placed directly on the backs of our children. Even without this proposal, the Congressional Budget Office predicts a deficit of $1.2 trillion - a significant ball and chain for our children to drag around.
Both parties have been involved in spending binges -- but that must change now. We have no option.
President Obama believes that "those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits and do our business in the light of day." I applaud him for making accountability a priority of his Administration, and will hold him to his word.
We must avoid the easy temptation to spend our way out of this recession, rather we must craft policies that empower our nation's greatest resource - the American people and the small businesses that create 7 out of every 10 jobs in America.
Simply throwing money at any problem is short-sighted. Government does have a role to play in revitalizing our ailing economy, but that must come in the form of judicious spending that creates jobs while putting more tax dollars back in the hands of hard-working families now.
Even if the most optimistic estimates of the Democratic proposal are correct, something that is up for debate, the cost to the American taxpayer would be $235,000 per job created. The private sector would call that a bad investment, the government calls it business as usual.
To date, Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives have excluded all Republicans from the process. I believe this is unwise and not in keeping with the new President's call for good ideas from across the American spectrum. Shutting out an entire political party disenfranchises millions of Americans and a myriad of solutions that could help our nation recover and thrive. While we do not have the corner of good ideas, it is important to implement the very best of solutions regardless of party.
The politics of change has come to Washington, rhetorically, but we have yet to see Democratic leaders in the House and Senate follow through on this promise. It's not too late but the clock is ticking.