By Representative Jeb Hensarling
As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union Address Tuesday, it is important that Americans recall the record of his earlier promises before he makes new ones.
Three years ago, we were told if Congress passed his administration's priority legislation -- the trillion-dollar "stimulus," his heath care law and the Dodd-Frank Act -- then the economy would recover and job growth would flourish.
Now, with all the key elements of his agenda in place, where do we find ourselves?
Since his Inauguration in 2009, almost 2 million more Americans are out of work. Despite assurances that the stimulus would keep the nation's jobless rate below 8 percent, unemployment has been mired above 8 percent for the past 35 months--the longest period of sustained high unemployment since the Great Depression.
Meanwhile, the average price of gas has doubled; new business start-ups are at a 17-year low, and the number of Americans relying on food stamps is at an all-time high.
Though the president has said he would do "whatever it takes to move this economy forward," just last week he wasted a golden opportunity to help create at least 20,000 new jobs when he declined to approve construction of the popular Keystone XL energy pipeline.
Despite every commonsense reason to support this project, from its strong bipartisan support to its extensive three-year federal review, the president effectively buried 20,000 shovel-ready U.S. jobs.
The president must address these issues in his speech Tuesday. He should also note that Tuesday marks the 1,000th day since the Democratic-controlled Senate even bothered to pass a budget.
Forcing the government to operate without a real budget is just one way the president and his party have taken our nation's spending-driven debt crisis from worrisome to catastrophic.
For the first time since World War II, our total debt burden exceeds the size of our entire economy and represents a clear impediment to job growth. In just three years, the president has racked up more debt than was created between the presidencies of George Washington and George H.W. Bush.
Regardless of the president's intentions, his policies have failed the American people and continue to hamper a full recovery.
I recently heard from a constituent in Garland, Texas. He summed up our nation's small business sentiment. "I could start two companies and hire multiple people," he said, "but based on this administration and the lack of facts with Obamacare, I will continue to sit and wait."
Because the president cannot run on his record, he has, regrettably, turned to the politics of envy and is trying to divide America. Without spending discipline, raising taxes will not solve our nation's debt crisis -- and could seriously harm small businesses. Fairness is found not in taxing some people more but in subsidizing them less.
Let's scrap the tax loopholes. Let's end the special interest taxpayer subsidies the president defends--like those he gave to Solyndra--and stop his administration's bailouts.
Going forward, the president should not forget the important work completed in the House last year. Republicans passed a budget that addressed the real drivers of our debt and included fundamental pro-growth tax reform. We also sent the Senate more than 30 bipartisan jobs bills as a part of our Plan for America's Job Creators. Twenty-seven are still stacked-up, awaiting Democratic consideration.
No nation can borrow, spend, tax or bailout its way to jobs and economic growth. I'm hopeful the president will admit his policies have failed and begin to work with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to give Americans the jobs and recovery they desperately need -- and deserve.