Across East Alabama, I keep hearing from folks who are very concerned about the direction of our country.
I am deeply concerned too. On the economic front, the trends still aren't good. According to the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, unemployment in the state of Alabama is up to 8.3 percent. The national unemployment rate has been at 8 percent or higher for 43 months.
Too many folks have just given up looking for work altogether. That's a terrible situation for anyone to be in, and high unemployment is just not something that we as a nation can or should accept.
Many economists say we must increase government spending to pull our economy out of its slump. I disagree. Recently, you may have seen on the news that our national debt hit $16 trillion. This unbelievably high price tag breaks down to cost more than $140,000 per American tax payer. Over $140,000.
Interest rates may be low now, but when they do go up, the cost of servicing our debt will severely limit our economic growth and our government's ability to fund its basic functions.
And on top of that, in January of next year, if Congress doesn't act soon, the current tax rates will increase for every working family, making it even tougher on East Alabama families that are already hurting and struggling.
You might think a budget from Congress would help. But many folks know it has been over three years since Senate Democrats have passed a budget. During these tough economic times, folks across East Alabama have been forced to tighten their financial belts and there is no reason Washington should not follow suit.
It is time for a grown-up conversation in Washington. It is time for the tough choices to be made to get our economy back on track.
I supported H. Con. Res. 112, the House-passed Budget, which would not only place our spending on a more sustainable path, and help strengthen Medicare for current and future generations, but also save our military from arbitrary and dangerous cuts known as sequestration.
But like 30 other job-creation bills passed by the House, H. Con. Res. 112 was placed on the shelf by Senator Reid. Now is the time for reasoned action -- on spending, on jobs and on common sense measures to get our economy moving and our budget under control.
As always, contact me by visiting my website at www.mike-rogers.house.gov, become a fan on Facebook at Congressman Mike D. Rogers, follow me on Twitter at RepMikeRogersAL and subscribe to my YouTube page at MikeRogersAL03.