By Howard McKeon
America has always been a country founded on principled determination and the idea that it's possible to make something out of nothing.
In no state of our union is this pioneer spirit more pervasive than in California. But when you see foreclosure signs on your neighbors' homes or "for lease" signs on the windows of what used to be your family's favorite shops, it's hard not to feel fatigued and hard not to wonder if America's best days are behind us.
I refuse to believe that America's abilities have peaked. That's why every day my focus is getting America back to work. I believe it is not only possible, but imperative, that we come together and fight to bring and keep jobs here at home, and get our country working again.
While certainly not exhaustive, I believe there are four main things that we can do right now together, in a bipartisan manner that will help create jobs.
First, we need to get Washington's heavy boot off the throats of our existing businesses. Our businesses are caught in a historical riptide of red-tape, and the avalanche of regulations coming down from Washington are making it impossible to stay in business -- let alone grow, succeed and create jobs.
Washington red tape has become so overwhelming and frustrating that one small-business owner in my district told me that he actually feels like the government wants him to fail. That's why I have fought to change the current economic policies of over-regulation and have voted to put a freeze on any new government regulations until unemployment drops to 6 percent or lower.
Second, we need to remove the barriers that prevent entrepreneurs from starting new businesses. Think about the positive impact new businesses would have on our communities. Unfortunately, there are too many barriers keeping these entrepreneurs from opening their doors. That's why I voted for the JOBS Act. This bipartisan legislation is a package of reforms that removes government barriers preventing small businesses and startups from growing and creating new jobs. It will open up capital for consumers and banks so that new and existing businesses can flourish and hire workers.
Third, we need to provide training to current job seekers. I'm proud to be the original author of the Workforce Improvement and Investment Act, a bill that reforms current federal job training programs to fit the needs of today's job market and job seekers. This bill will eliminate the bureaucratic red-tape that prevents workers from accessing the job training resources they need immediately. This bill strengthens job training opportunities for workers and job seekers and builds on reforms to improve programs and services to put Americans back to work, all while maintaining our commitment to responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
Fourth, we need to provide certainty in our economy by getting our fiscal house in order. We need to reduce our unsustainable national debt, end outrageous deficit spending, and provide families and businesses a fair and simple tax code.
Our national debt just surpassed $16 trillion, and each year we spend more than a trillion and a half dollars more than we have. This lifestyle of debt and deficits just isn't sustainable, and it just isn't right. I refuse to leave a legacy of a depleted America to my children and grandchildren.
At more than 72,500 pages, our tax code has become a broken maze of complexity, bureaucracy and political favoritism, and it has to be fixed. We need a tax code that is simple and fair for all individuals, families and businesses. We need a tax code that spurs job creation and economic opportunity by lowering rates, closing loopholes and putting hardworking taxpayers ahead of special interests. Our corporate tax rate is one of the highest in the world. If we want America to prosper again, we have to make the United States a great place to do business.
I have voted for over 30 bipartisan pro-growth, pro-jobs bills that will help create jobs and get America working again. If we want America to remain a nation of prosperity, we have got to come together and get serious about solving our jobs crisis.
We have to get Washington bureaucracy out of the way, help, not handcuff, our small businesses and entrepreneurs, provide top-notch job training to our job seekers, and inject certainty into our economy by fixing our fiscal mess. Achieving these things will be a crucial step forward in a real American recovery, and getting this done is my top priority.
U.S. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) represents the 25th Congressional District.