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Who Creates Jobs?


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"Congress needs to focus on job creation." That's a common refrain heard these days in the halls of the Capitol, on the opinion pages of newspapers and from the talking heads on cable news. With unemployment in North Carolina still hovering around 10 percent, it's no surprise that so many want Congress to focus on jobs.

Everyone agrees that high unemployment is a scourge and that we need more job creation. How we get there, however, is a matter of considerable debate. Even the phrase, "Congress needs to focus on job creation," is freighted with ambiguity and often stems from two very divergent views of how to create jobs.

These two views can be summarized simply. One is that government is an effective job creator. The other is that government is an ineffective job creator relative to the private sector.

The view that government is an effective job creator leads to policies like the infamous stimulus package of 2009. With a price tag nearing a trillion dollars, the stimulus bill was sold to America as a way to keep unemployment below 8 percent. We all know how that turned out. In fact, a study by an Ohio State University economist found that the stimulus "destroyed or forestalled roughly one million private sector jobs."

Government is certainly capable of creating jobs--it's just not very efficient at doing it. Plus, in order to "create jobs" the federal government must first extract money out of the pockets of productive American workers and companies in the form of taxes. This often results in no net job creation, since the small businesses that create most jobs end up shoveling a sizeable percentage of their income into the federal government's coffers--directly reducing the amount of money they have to re-invest in their businesses and create jobs.

On the other hand, many people know that the federal government is not the best tool for job creation. I'm in that camp. While I think Congress should focus on job creation, I'm convinced that the focus should not be on more wasteful, government spending.

Instead, Congress should lessen the burden of government rules and red tape and rein in the long arm of the federal tax code. This will unleash the job creating potential of American small businesses and job creators. And it doesn't require spending taxpayer money on questionable or politically motivated projects.

The House of Representatives has already done a lot of work in this area, cutting red tape and job-killing rules. This year the House passed several bills to reverse economically harmful regulations, to create jobs by allowing investment in energy production and to stop tax increases on American small businesses and families. This includes the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, the Energy Tax Prevention Act and the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act. These bills and many others that would create 1000's of private sector jobs passed the House on a bipartisan basis.

Unfortunately, these bills are languishing in the Senate awaiting an up or down vote. This is the same Senate that has refused even to pass a budget for more than 860 days. Thanks to the Senate's inaction, bills that would free up American job creators to invest in profitable, job creating ventures have not yet become law.

The Senate's chronic torpor will not stop the House from continuing to pursue a job creation agenda that doesn't fritter away taxpayer money.

This fall House Republicans plan to overrule needless federal government meddling that threatens the creation of 100's of jobs planned for South Carolina by aircraft manufacturer Boeing. We will also tackle harmful regulations emanating from the EPA that threaten more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs. Plus, the House plans to vote on a major tax cut proposal for small businesses that will free up resources for new hiring.

It's true. Congress must focus on job creation. But Congress needs to get away from the failed strategy of throwing piles of taxpayers' hard-earned money at every problem. More stimulus programs aren't needed. We can help the private sector create jobs by getting job-destroying government rules and high taxes off the backs of America's small businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs. This is the single best way to spark job creation and get many Americans back to work.

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