One of my main objectives has always been to listen to every concern from families in our district and to bring those concerns back with me to Washington. Recently, I sent out a survey to hear directly from you, and I have enjoyed reading the thousands of responses I've received. I wanted to take a moment to share some of your thoughts and concerns.
The first question that I asked was to determine the most important issue currently facing our country. Unsurprisingly, the majority expressed that the national debt, high level of unemployment and excessive federal spending as the top concerns in our district.
One man from Lake Ozark said, "I feel that if the government would get spending under control, business would be more comfortable expanding, creating new jobs which when set in motion, seems to feed on itself. More government is not the answer." I wholly agree with this sentiment and that is why I have been fighting to shrink the size and reach of the federal government since coming to office in 2009. In my opinion, the game-changer for getting Washington's spending under control is passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Sixteen years ago, the Balanced Budget Amendment passed the House with strong bipartisan support, only to lose by one vote in the Senate. Since then, the debt has nearly tripled in size, growing by $9.7 trillion, or around $1.6 billion per day. A Balanced Budget Amendment means no more Washington budget tricks. No more accounting gimmicks. No more empty promises. It's the ultimate solution to our nation's fiscal crisis.
In addition to legislation that will mandate a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, I am a cosponsor of the One Percent Spending Reduction Act, a longer-term solution to our year-to-year deficits, which are producing mounting national debt. This legislation, if enacted, would cut federal spending by 1 percent each year for six years; cap spending at 18 percent of GDP in the seventh year; balance the federal budget in the eighth year; and save taxpayers $7.5 trillion over 10 years.
Another question on the survey asked you to name the most important issue impacting small businesses, our nation's number one creators. Almost unanimously, everyone agreed that unrestrained growth of the federal government, tax policy and government mandates on the private sector have impeded the growth and strength of small businesses.
For example, the Obama administration has issued hundreds of new regulations in the past few years. All of these new and proposed regulations are de facto tax increases, and they are contributing to the fear and uncertainty that is holding back small businesses from hiring new workers and making new investments.
Although the number of unemployed Americans declined slightly, down to 13.9 million in July, in the two years since the "stimulus" spending bill was enacted, more than 1.3 million jobs have been lost and the unemployment rate has averaged 9.5 percent -- despite projections by White House economists that the "stimulus" would keep unemployment below eight percent.
The House majority's Plan for America's Job Creators includes solutions to rein in the red tape ensnaring employers, expand American energy production, reform the tax code, and make American employers more competitive in new international markets through fair and free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. Adherence to the same failed economic policies will not foster economic growth and job creation.
In answer to what policies will create jobs and stimulate the economy, there was an overwhelming support for streamlining the tax code, passing trade agreements to increase competitiveness for American products, and reducing government debt. Many of you wrote to specifically "spend government money efficiently."
While we may not agree on all issues, every one of your opinions matters to me. Communication is key in order to facilitate moving our country in the right direction. As a lady from Kirksville perfectly stated, "Many crucial decisions have to be made in the near future and we must take a stand for what is right."