By Representative Gary Miller (CA-42)
While recent indicators show that our economy may be improving, the rate of growth is far from where it needs to be to address the number one challenge facing America's families, workers and future prosperity: unemployment. The unemployment rate has been at or above 9 percent for eight months this year with no sign of significant improvement coming anytime soon. Despite the Obama Administration's promise that the so-called stimulus would prevent unemployment from rising above 8 percent, the rate has in fact been higher than that for the past 33 months, the longest such streak of high unemployment since the Great Depression.
The President's new motto is "we can't wait." I agree that we must act now to get our economy moving again and put Americans back to work. However, I strongly reject the Administration's attempt to recycle the failed policies of the past two and a half years which has sent our national debt soaring to $15 trillion. We will not get meaningful, lasting job creation by continuing to borrow money from future generations to pay for more stimulus and Solyndra-like boondoggles. The real driver of job creation in this country comes from Americans who see opportunities, take risks, innovate, and earn success -- not government bureaucrats using taxpayer money to pick winners and losers in our economy.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, creating seven out of ten new jobs and employing nearly half of all U.S. workers. Unfortunately, government regulations, the threat of tax increases, and continuing economic uncertainty is making it increasingly difficult for American entrepreneurs and innovators to start their own businesses and compete in the world economy. In 2007, the World Bank ranked the United State 3rd in the world for ease of starting a business -- today, the U.S. ranks 13th. This decline is unacceptable. America can and must do better.
In order to grow the economy, we need a private sector with the confidence and the ability to expand and hire. All year long, House Republicans have been passing legislation to deal with the uncertainty in the economy that has been stifling economic growth and job creation without raising taxes or requiring massive increases in federal spending. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats have been stalling, delaying, and obstructing these pro-growth measures, many of which passed the House with strong bipartisan support. Of course what else can be expected from the chamber which, as of this writing, hasn't adopted a budget to establish federal spending priorities in over 900 days?
While government can't create private-sector jobs, it can help restore confidence and stability in the economic environment by getting our nation's fiscal house in order, reforming the burdensome and confusing federal tax code, and eliminating regulatory barriers to job creation and economic growth. I will continue to work toward these goals, and hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and in the Senate will do the same. As the President would say, we can't wait.
Rep. Gary Miller represents California's 42nd Congressional District.