Four years into the Obama Administration, the outlook for jobs and the American economy is disheartening and bleak.
There are fewer jobs in America than when President Obama took office. Unemployment has been over eight percent for a record 43 straight months. The percentage of American workers who are unemployed or underemployed is nearly 15%.
In August alone, 368,000 workers abandoned the workforce. The percentage of Americans who participate in the workforce is the lowest since 1981.
In 2008, the U.S. economy was rated the most competitive in the world. Since then, it has fallen to seventh place. And the United States' credit rating has been downgraded and another downgrade has been threatened.
This is not what the Obama Administration promised for economic recovery when it took office.
President Obama stated during an interview in 2009, "[I]f I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition."
Why is unemployment still so high? A large part of the answer can be found in the Administration's historic expansion of regulations and business owners' uncertainty over what regulations might come next.
In his 2011 State of the Union Address, President Obama promised to fix "rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses."
And in his September 2011 address to a joint session of Congress, the President declared that "[w]e should have no more regulation than the health, safety and security of the American people require."
But his actions speak louder than his empty words.
Rather than lighten regulatory burdens to promote recovery, President Obama has turned America into a regulation nation. We need to encourage small businesses to expand, not tie them up with red tape.
America's job creators don't need more government regulation. They need fewer burdens, lower costs and an environment in which they can predict whether they can hire and make a profit.
A Heritage Foundation study found that in his first three years in office President Obama adopted 106 major rules that impose $46 billion in additional annual regulatory costs on the private sector, a new record.
To make matters worse, the Administration's latest regulatory agenda identifies over 200 major rules that are planned or have just been completed. Each of these rules will affect the economy by $100 million or more every year.
A recent Gallup Poll found that among the 85% of U.S. small business owners who aren't hiring, nearly half of these cited being "worried about new government regulations" as the reason they are not hiring.
To help solve America's economic troubles, the House Judiciary Committee passed a comprehensive package of regulatory reform bills this term of Congress. These bills have all passed the House as well.
They promise to lower regulatory costs and uncertainty and still protect public health, safety and welfare.
The Regulatory Accountability Act, for example, requires agencies to show that the benefits of new regulations justify their costs when the regulations are adopted.
The Judiciary Committee's legislation also includes:
The Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act, which halts unneeded new major rules until unemployment drops to six percent;
The Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, which makes sure agencies account for the needs of small businesses before they adopt new rules;
The Sunshine for Regulatory Consent Decrees and Settlements Act, which prevents collusion between special interests and agencies to force new regulations on the public;
The REINS Act, which restores Congress's accountability for new major regulations;
And the RAPID Act, which streamlines permitting for new construction projects.
America's economic recovery depends on job creators, not federal regulators. We need to lift the burden on small businesses and free them up to spend more, invest more, produce more and create more jobs.
Despite his promises to lighten the regulatory load, President Obama has threatened to veto every one of these bills. And the Senate has not taken up any of them.
But the Judiciary Committee will continue to push for their enactment because of America's urgent need for new jobs and economic growth.