The American economy is at a standstill. So far, the federal government has spent almost a trillion dollars on a failed stimulus package that explicitly promised to keep the unemployment rate under 8%. Despite that promise, our nation's unemployment rate has been at or above 9% for the past two years. We need to change direction.
Last summer the Obama Administration touted a "Recovery Summer" that simply hasn't materialized. Job growth comes when government gets out of the way. Empowering small businesses is essential to our economic recovery because they are the backbone of our market. Small businesses currently face arduous federal regulatory burdens that hinder their ability to grow and expand. Eliminating these regulations will provide needed certainty for our nations' largest job creators. Lowering the tax rate for businesses and for individuals would also provide a greater incentive for American businesses to compete and invest in our economy.
Boosting competition for American manufacturers and promoting American entrepreneurship are also important steps toward job creation. We must push to open new markets for creating and distributing American goods so that we can acquire more outlets for incoming revenue. For example, if we pass the three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, we can generate up to 250,000 jobs right here in the US. In 2010, the manufacturing industry in Texas exported $103 billion in goods to Free Trade countries. Passing more trade agreements is an important opportunity for further job creation here at home.
High energy prices also serve as an obstacle to economic growth. However, the Obama administration continues to pursue misguided policies that increase energy costs for Americans. From an unnecessary oil exploration moratorium, to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) continued attempts to assert federal control over states like Texas, the Obama Administration's energy policy is guaranteed to increase the price of oil and energy as a whole -- further limiting economic growth. Companies and small employers repeatedly communicate concerns about the uncertainty they face in making business decisions.
One of the most significant opportunities for job creation is to look inward for energy resources. Increasing our access to domestic energy sources and maximizing American energy production will not only create a vast amount of jobs, but it will also decrease our dependence on Middle East oil. Increasing all forms of domestic energy production will promote lower energy prices and decrease the unemployment rate. An "all of the above' energy policy means American energy for American jobs.
Washington Democrats' solution to our struggling economy is for the federal government to manage the markets and pick winners and losers in our economy. The market simply doesn't work that way and this approach has been unsuccessful in the two plus years it has had to take effect. The Democrat's policy to overtax and over-regulate businesses, small and large, is hindering job growth and causing further harm to our economy instead of helping it recover.
Ultimately, we must get the federal government out of the way so that we have the freedom to fix ourselves. America's debt burden is currently unsustainable and will thwart the success of our future generations. We need to start living within our means instead of spending money that we do not have. Enacting significant spending cuts introduced by the House Republicans' Budget plan will aid in our efforts to drive down the deficit, stabilize our economy, and increase our economic independence.