The clock is about to strike midnight on 2009. As far as years go in Congress, it was not one that I want to remember.
Washington racked up a national deficit of $1.4 trillion in the last fiscal year. It set a new record and pushed our national debt over $12 trillion. Some of your money went to the $787 billion stimulus bill that failed to stimulate the economy. Our national unemployment rate soared to over ten percent. That rate was the highest in more than 25 years.
Lawmakers passed a cap and trade bill that will drive jobs overseas and increase energy costs for everyone. It will hit farmers, rural America and small manufacturers the hardest. The House passed a health care reform bill that I believe will hurt the quality of your health care, punish small businesses and lead us toward a government run healthcare system.
However, 2010 is a new year. Mark Twain said that an optimist is a daydreamer more elegantly spelled. It's hard to argue with such a distinguished Missourian, but I believe that Congress has an opportunity to do better.
We need to work to make the United States the best place in the world to do business. While government does not create jobs, it can work to reduce taxation, litigation and regulation. We can work to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, while creating good-paying jobs right here at home.
My hope for the New Year is that Congress will work together to help set the table for economic growth.