Today the President brought his American Jobs Act tour to North Carolina. Unfortunately the President's long-awaited plan (and promotional tour) are more about politics than policy. Not only is the President late with his jobs proposal, but he is pursuing an approach that will do nothing to create an environment for job creation. The President's plan is a repackaged version of the failed "stimulus" strategy that has resulted in sustained unemployment of over 9 percent. To make matters worse, he wants to pay for this $447 billion spending bill with tax increases, many of which will likely result in higher energy costs to American consumers.
The people of North Carolina understand that the government inserting itself into the free market is never going to be the answer to this jobs crisis. Instead we need to remove excessive government regulation that is hampering job growth. According to a September 2010 report from the Small Business Administration, total regulatory costs amount to $1.75 trillion annually--enough money for businesses to provide 17.5 million private sector jobs with an average salary of $100,000. House Republicans have worked since January to reduce the regulatory burdens that have kept businesses from hiring, but Harry Reid is standing in the way of prosperity and job creation in this country because he refuses to take up the jobs legislation the House has passed.
New reports out this week brought more bad news on the jobs front, highlighting just how critical the situation is. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) optimism index showed confidence in the future of the economy down to 88.1 -- the weakest number since July 2010 and the sixth month of decline in a row from 89.9 in July. The number of small-business owners saying they expected the economy will improve six months from now fell to the lowest level since 1980.
A report released this week from the Census Bureau shows the national poverty rate hit 15.1 percent in 2010 -- the highest level since 1993 -- with 46.2 million Americans living in poverty. This is the largest number of people living in poverty since the census began tracking poverty figures in 1959. With this many people in such dire circumstances, there is no time to waste on failed policies and political stunts.
When the President spoke in Raleigh today he said it was time to "finally get Washington to act." He said Americans "need action now." What he did not say is that House Republicans have been in action, working on the issue of jobs since taking office in January. House Republicans have a plan for job creation that focuses on creating jobs in the private sector. House Republicans have passed at least a dozen jobs bills since January. Eleven of those bills have been and still are waiting for Senate action. (You can track the progress of this legislation at http://majorityleader.gov/JobsTracker/).
The President said it is time to act now. Actually it is past time to act. But this is not the time to engage in class warfare pitting Americans against each other and it is definitely not the time to pass another round of so-called "stimulus" spending that has already failed so miserably.