Two years ago, when Barack Obama became our President, unemployment was 7.8 percent and our national debt stood at what seemed like a staggering $10.6 trillion dollars. We wondered whether the President would cut spending, reduce the deficit and implement real job-creating policies.
Unfortunately, the President's strategy for recovery was to spend a trillion dollars on a failed stimulus program, fueled by borrowed money. The White House promised us that all the spending would keep unemployment under 8 percent. Not only did that plan fail to deliver, but within three months the national jobless rate spiked to 9.4 percent. And sadly, it hasn't been lower for 20 straight months. While the government grew, we lost more than 2 million jobs.
Here are unemployment rates over the past ten years. In October 2001, our national unemployment rate was at 5.3 percent. In 2008 it was at 6.6 percent. But, just eight months after President Obama promised lower unemployment, that rate spiked to a staggering 10.1 percent. Today, unemployment is at 9.4 percent with about 400,000 new claims every week.
After the $700 billion bailout, the trillion-dollar stimulus, and the $410 billion spending bill with over 9,000 earmarks, many of you implored Washington to please stop spending money we don't have. But, instead of cutting, we saw an unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt, unlike anything we have seen in the history of our country.
Deficits were unacceptably high under President Bush, but they exploded under President Obama's direction, growing the national debt by an astounding $3.1 trillion-dollars.
What did we buy?
Instead of a leaner, smarter government, we bought a bureaucracy that tells us which light bulbs to buy, and which will put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama's healthcare bill. ObamaCare mandates and penalties will force many job creators to stop offering health insurance altogether, unless yours is one of the more-than-222 privileged companies or unions that has received a government waiver.
In the end, unless we fully repeal ObamaCare, a nation that currently enjoys the world's best healthcare may be forced to rely on government-run coverage that will have a devastating impact on our national debt for generations to come.
For two years President Obama made promises just like the ones we heard him make tonight. Yet still we have high unemployment, devalued housing prices and the cost of gasoline is skyrocketing. Here are a few suggestions for fixing our economy:
* The President could stop the EPA from imposing a job-destroying cap-and-trade system.
* The President could support a Balanced Budget Amendment.
* The President could agree to an energy policy that increases American energy production and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
* The President could also turn back some of the 132 regulations put in place in the last two years, many of which will cost our economy $100 million or more.
* The President should repeal ObamaCare and support free market solutions like medical malpractice reform and allow all Americans to buy any healthcare policy they like anywhere in the United States.
We need to start making things again in this country, and we can do that by reducing the tax and regulatory burdens on job creators. America will have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Look no further to see why jobs are moving overseas.
But, thanks to you, there's reason to hope that real spending cuts are coming. Last November you went to the polls and voted out big-spending politicians and you put in their place men and women with a commitment to follow the Constitution and cut the size of government. I believe that we are in the early days of a history-making turn. Please know how important your calls, visits, and letters are to the maintenance of our liberties. Because of you, Congress responded and we are starting to undo the damage that's been done.
We believe in lower taxes, a limited view of government and the exceptionalism of America. And I believe America is the indispensible nation.
Just the creation of this nation was a miracle. Who's to say that we can't see a miracle again? The perilous battle that was fought in the pacific, at Iwo Jima, was a battle against all odds, and yet the image of the young G.I.s in the incursion against the Japanese immortalizes their victory. These six young men raising the flag came to symbolize all of America coming together to beat back a totalitarian aggressor.
Our current debt crisis we face today is different, but we still need all of us to pull together. We can do this. And that's the hope we hold tonight as Americans. We will push forward to reclaim the greatness of our country and to proclaim the liberty upon which we were founded. And we will do so because we the people will never give up on this great nation.