By Timothy Walberg
When President Obama took office on January 20, 2009, the unemployment rate sat at 7.8 percent. Charged by the recent win, the administration promised the American people that the jobless rate would never touch 8 percent if Congress passed an almost $1 trillion stimulus package. A week later they did. Yet, instead of keeping the unemployment rate below 8 percent, it has remained above that rate for 40 straight months.
An unemployment rate this high for this long has staggering consequences. Half of all recent graduates can't find work and more than half of bachelor degree-holders under the age of 25 were jobless or underemployed last year. As of February, the number of Americans on food stamps totaled 46.3 million, or a 44 percent increase since the president took office. In addition, according to a December 2011 Census Bureau report, almost half of all Americans are now classified as poor or low income. Amid all this, our small businesses and entrepreneurs are struggling to start and grow their companies.
President Obama knows his policies have failed. Which is why he's been pointing the finger at just about everyone and everything else--the debt crisis in Europe, the Bush administration and Congress--but his own policies. He must have forgotten that his party controlled both the House and Senate during his first two years in office. Instead of using this time wisely to focus on the economy, he spent much of that time forcing an unpopular, overreaching and unaffordable health care law on the American people.
Fortunately, job creation and growing the economy are priorities of the now Republican controlled House. In fact there there are now nearly 30 House passed jobs bills collecting dust in the Senate chamber which are meant to jump-start our economy. They are built on the premise that government cannot create jobs, especially while burdening our job creators with more taxes and regulations. Instead, they're centered on common sense, pro-growth policies that give small businesses and entrepreneurs their confidence back and allow them to invest in our economy.
The House's plan for America's Job Creators calls for the federal government to rein in it's out of control spending habit. With record deficits and a high unemployment rate, we need to begin spending federal dollars like responsible families and businesses across Michigan's 7th district already are. The House has shown a commitment to this issue by already approving legislation to decrease spending and adopting a budget that reduces government spending by almost $6 trillion over the next ten years. Every dollar that is saved now is a dollar that is not borrowed and owed by future generations in the form of higher taxes and interest payments.
The Republican plan also distances itself from a tax system that seeks to raise taxes on families and businesses which are already trying to make ends meet. We're fighting to develop a tax code that is simpler, fair and encourages investment with an overall reduced rate for businesses and individuals including small business owners.
Lastly, our plan and bills focus on reducing harmful regulations which hold businesses back and often force them to move their businesses elsewhere. While some government regulations are important, excessive use of this authority only helps create an uncertain business climate. We need to eliminate these burdensome regulations to encourage increased investment and the creation of more jobs.
The month of May might have marked the 40th month of high unemployment, but the American people didn't need the latest data to figure that out. They only had to look at their family, friends or even themselves to know the economy is struggling. They know the President's policies and the Senate's inaction are making the economy worse at time when Washington is being asked for policies which will restore their confidence in the American dream.
House Republicans remain committed to taking every step to see this happen. We hope the Administration and Senate face up to the facts and decide to join us.