nation, are truly serious about creating the kind of positive legislative and regulatory environment needed to create new jobs -- as well as to bring jobs back to the United States from abroad -- there are some common-sense steps that we should take right now. As Chairman of this Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over interstate and foreign commerce, I am hoping to make job creation one of our top priorities.
After a record 20 straight months of unemployment above 9 percent, it's time to finally free American innovation and ingenuity -- long held hostage by a regulatory regime which is as great a threat to our prosperity as any foreign regime. Today, U.S. businesses are holding tight onto more than $1.8 trillion in cash reserves. Let's give them a reason to invest that money in America's future. Here are some things we should do immediately.
First, let's ensure regulatory fairness. Rules and regulations imposed by Washington cost Americans more than $1.75 trillion each year or about $15,500 per household. Moving forward we should complete a top-to-bottom review of all regulations, scrubbing every outdated and senseless regulatory requirement off the books. Next place a moratorium on any job-killing regulations and establish a more fair and transparent review process. And, finally, require Congressional approval for all major rules and regulations imposing significant new costs on the economy.
Second, we need to make intellectual property protection a top priority. By most estimates, the theft of U.S. intellectual property costs our economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year, but the real damage -- both in terms of lost jobs and stalled progress -- is impossible to calculate. Most sinister, this is deflating to our nation's entrepreneurial spirit and psyche. Simply put, our nation's economy cannot thrive in a world of "no cost" competitors.
Third, let's incentivize and reward innovation. According to a recent report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the United States ranked sixth among 40 nations in "innovation-based competitiveness." But we were dead last in progress made over the past decade. Dead last. There are smart ways to use the U.S. Tax Code and patent laws to reward companies that create new jobs and keep those jobs here in America.
Fourth, we need to open more foreign markets to U.S. products. We simply can't sit on the sidelines while other nations sign free trade agreements and gain a foothold in promising, new markets. Long-stalled trade promotion agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama should move forward quickly. Years of lost opportunities have only resulted in thousands of lost jobs. It's time to quit playing politics with our trade policies.
Fifth, we should embrace vigorous oversight of new laws and agencies. Aggressive oversight doesn't have to be a political parlor game. Rather, we should see these as beneficial opportunities to "get it right." Americans want -- and deserve -- our best efforts. Oversight hearings, which this subcommittee will be holding this year, are a unique opportunity to see what's working and what's not. And, at the end of the day, we must have the political courage to embrace change that's not always popular but necessary.
Finally, let's make "insourcing" in vogue. Frankly, I am tired of hearing people say, "The jobs are gone, and they are not coming back." Outsourcing is not a one way street. By providing a stable and predictable regulatory framework by protecting intellectual property by incentivizing and rewarding innovation and by opening more foreign markets to our products -- we not only can end the exodus of jobs overseas, but also begin the process of bringing some of those jobs back home to America. In fact, it has already started. General Electric, General Motors, Ford, Boeing, Delta Airlines, Master Lock and Caterpillar are just a few of the companies that are embracing "insourcing." They should be applauded and other U.S. companies encouraged to follow suit.
In fact, during the course of this entire week, ABC News has been taking an in-depth look at how buying "Made in America" can translate into millions of new jobs across the United States.
Today, we are at an important crossroads in our nation's history. The way forward is clear: creating new jobs and preserving existing jobs here at home should be our top priority. It will strengthen our economy, reduce the deficit, enhance U.S. competiveness and restore pride in "Made in America." For this subcommittee, there can be no greater legacy.