Op-Ed: Our Country Needs Jobs

Op-Ed

By:  Elton Gallegly
Date: Sept. 24, 2009
Location: Unknown

What Americans need right now are jobs. Instead, Washington is killing them.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's stimulus package was supposed to hold unemployment below 8 percent. Instead, since President Obama signed the bill in February, unemployment has skyrocketed nationally from 7.9 percent to 9.7 percent.

In California, unemployment hit 11.9 percent in July, a 63 percent increase over July 2008.

Granted, California's Legislature deserves much blame for California's economic straits, too, but consider that Alabama's unemployment rate doubled over last year, West Virginia is 114 percent higher, Wyoming 97 percent higher, Wisconsin 96 percent higher--the list goes on.

In the month of August, there were 14.92 million unemployed individuals looking for work, the highest number in history.

And that's only part of the picture. Nine million Americans who wanted full-time work could only find part-time jobs in August, yet another historic high. Another 2.2 million were available and wanted work but had given up.

The stimulus is failing because government cannot create jobs.

So far $77.1 billion of the stimulus bill reportedly has been paid out. Of that, $26 billion was spent on Medicaid grants to states, $13 billion for state education funding, $15 billion for unemployment insurance, $13 billion for one-time Social Security payments and $3 billion for food stamps.

Those may be necessary expenditures in this economy, but they are not stimulating. In contrast, only $1.5 billion has been distributed for transportation infrastructure projects.

To compound the problem, Speaker Pelosi is pushing more job-killing bills.

According to a new study conducted by the independent Science Applications International Corp., the cap-and-trade energy bill passed by the House majority in June will kill American jobs, even after new "green" jobs are taken into account. Between 2012 and 2030, up to 620,000 jobs will be lost each year. Other independent estimates have been much higher.

Beginning in 2012, California will have 192,773 fewer jobs than without the bill. Job losses will increase to 285,335 by 2035.

The healthcare reform bill being pushed by Speaker Pelosi will also kill jobs. According to a model developed by Dr. Christina Romer, the chair of President Obama's White House Council of Economic Advisors, the Speaker's healthcare plan will destroy as many as 5.5 million American jobs over the next 10 years.

There is a better way.

I supported a stimulus package that actually would have created jobs by giving small businesses--which employ half of all Americans--the incentives to innovate and expand, thereby producing new jobs.

I supported an energy bill that would have created more jobs and enhanced our national security by expanding energy production in all areas--including wind, solar, nuclear and natural gas.

I support a healthcare plan that does no harm by opening up competition and reining in frivolous lawsuits and which helps the working poor and those with preexisting conditions to obtain coverage.

What Americans need first and foremost today are jobs.

Right now it should be our highest domestic priority.