Nearly four years after the economic downturn began, Granite Staters are still asking "Where are the jobs?" Never since the Great Depression of the 1930's has there been a more painful journey back to full employment--and we're still not there yet.
That's because the wrong approach was tried: the Obama Administration's nearly $1 trillion in stimulus spending. When the last Congress approved it in early 2009, we were told it would go a long way in helping our economy recover.
Back then, the president's economic team promised us stimulus spending would keep unemployment below 8 percent, and would even make it drop below 6 percent by 2012.
But the reality of 2012 is far different. We now find ourselves stuck with a tab of almost $1 trillion, with nearly 23 million Americans still unemployed or underemployed, and with 43 straight months of a jobless rate of eight percent or higher.
In short: Washington's way was tried, and it didn't work.
But the good news is, we don't have to continue going down that path. In fact, I have been actively involved in the House in helping our country chart a new course. For example, the House passed a federal budget in 2011 and again this year; the Harry Reid-led Senate has refused to pass one since 2009. In the House, we have passed more than 30 bills designed to jumpstart our economy by freeing job creators from restrictive red tape and unleashing the innovative entrepreneurial spirit in order to hire more employees.
Here in New Hampshire, I have been personally working to make things better through my ongoing "Getting Granite Staters Back to Work" job initiative. The six job fairs held in every corner of the First Congressional District were attended by a combined total of nearly 1,000 people, showing there is still a genuine, pressing need for more good, middle-class jobs. (And by the way, I want you to know that I will continue hosting job fairs.)
Hitting the $16 trillion dollar debt mark should be a wakeup call for our country. Remember, much more than our government's immediate fiscal condition is at stake. Saddling every child with a $50,000 debt load makes it harder to pass on the American Dream to the next generation, and to the generation after that. We are currently borrowing 40 cents on the dollar, with much of it coming from China. It troubles me to imagine Beijing holding the mortgage on our children's future. Clearly, the path we've been on is unacceptable and fiscally unsustainable.
It's time to finally tackle government spending in a serious, meaningful way and start growing our economy once again. It's time to address pro-growth tax reform, and safeguard and secure Medicare, too. It's time to reject the wave of tax hikes that are scheduled to kick in at the end of this year, and to return the predictability and stability that small business owners need so they can grow and expand.
The failed stimulus spending showed us what doesn't work. There's simply no use sticking with an approach that doesn't produce effective results. If a small business ran its operations that way, it would quickly find itself out of business. Why should we expect any less from the federal government, and why should we, the citizens to whom that government is accountable, permit things to go on that way?
It is up to we, the people, to let Washington know we refuse to continue travelling down the road to debt and decline. It's time for a different direction, and I'm eager to help get us there. Let's put the failed policies behind us once and for all, strike a course for soundness, security and a return to prosperity. We can do it; all we need is for the president and Senate to join with us in making it happen.
I look forward to reporting back to you in two weeks on the latest developments in Washington. In the meantime, if I can be of service to you, or if you want to share your thoughts, suggestions or concerns with me, please call either my district office in Manchester at (603) 641-9536 or my Washington office at (202) 225-5456, or contact me through my website at www.Guinta.House.Gov. You can also follow what I'm doing 24/7 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/repfrankguinta and on Twitter at @RepFrankGuinta.
Until next time, please know that I am always on your side and am actively fighting for New Hampshire's interests in Washington.