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Public Statements

A Case of Amnesia

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, after listening to President Obama's State of the Union speech last night, I was left scratching my head. Essentially, the President wants us to pretend the last 4 years never happened. He wants us to pretend his economic policies have delivered a strong recovery from the recession of 2008; he wants us to pretend his administration has made real progress on reducing the national debt; and he wants us to pretend that more taxes, more spending, and more debt are the key to middle-class prosperity. In other words, the President is hoping we all have a case of amnesia.

He wants us to forget about $5.8 trillion in new debt that was racked up during his first term--$5.8 trillion. He wants us to forget our gross national debt is now larger than our entire economy--100 percent of our gross domestic product. He wants us to forget the debt is projected to grow even further, to $26 trillion, by 2023; and he wants us to forget his health care bill will increase taxes by $1 trillion over the next 10 years. He wants us to forget America's credit rating has been downgraded for the first time in our history.

He also wants us to forget we have been suffering through the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression, as well as the highest, longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression.

He wants us to forget that nearly 4 out of every 10 unemployed Americans have been jobless for at least 6 months. He wants us to forget that the average family median income has fallen by nearly $2,500 since the official end of the recession. He wants us to forget that the cost of health insurance for the average American family has increased by more than $2,300. And he wants us to forget that as part of the fiscal cliff negotiation, the payroll tax went back up, taking an additional bite out of the check of middle-class workers.

Last night President Obama said we should ask ourselves three questions every day--those of us with the privilege of serving here in the Nation's Capital in the Congress and in the administration. He said: No. 1, how do we attract more jobs to our shores? No. 2, how do we equip people with the skills they need in order to get those jobs? And No. 3, how do we make sure hard work leads to a decent living? I may have my differences with President Obama on a number of policies, but I actually think those are really good questions.

If the President is truly serious about finding the answers to those questions, this may not surprise my colleagues, but he need look only to the model reflected in my home State of Texas.

I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the RECORD an article entitled ``The Texas Growth Machine'' at the end of my remarks.

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Mr. CORNYN. The fact is our State relies on a simple economic model the Federal Government could emulate if it would like to have similar positive results: lower taxes, limited government, sensible regulations, and progrowth energy policies.

I know the occupant of the chair comes from a State that I believe is the second largest producer of oil and gas in the country--second only to Texas--and I know the Presiding Officer has seen the economic engine that is created when we unleash our potential when it comes to our energy resources. These are policies that recently helped Texas turn a $5 billion deficit during the recession into an $8.8 billion surplus. These are the policies that made our State a robust engine of job creation that is attracting Americans from all across the country. The total number of jobs in Texas since 1995 has grown at the rate of 32 percent. When we compare that with the rate of growth of jobs in America nationwide, we see it is 12 percent--32 percent to 12 percent. That is not an accident.

Texas is also a leader in the creation of high-paying jobs. Between 2002 and 2012, our State accounted for close to one-third of all U.S. private sector job growth in industries that pay more than 150 percent of the average wage, even though we have only 8 percent of America's total population.

Last night the President talked about, How do we get middle-class wages up? His prescription was an increase in the minimum wage, but I say why don't we look at ways to achieve a maximum wage by creating private sector, high-paying, good jobs, as we have been successful in doing in Texas and as a few other States have done as well.

After 4 years of trillion-dollar deficits and historically high unemployment--right now our unemployment rate is roughly 7.9 percent, but that doesn't really account for all of the people who have since given up looking for work, and it is estimated that more than 20 million Americans either are out of work or they are working part time when they would like to work full time, but they can't find those kinds of jobs.

I believe it is time for the President and this Congress to try a new approach. The great thing about our system of government--of shared sovereignty between the States and the National Government--is that we have essentially laboratories of democracy all around our country where we can try different things to see what works and what does not work. I only hope the President and Congress will look at those places around the country where the policies actually work in creating jobs and economic growth.

I believe it is time for the President to embrace policies that will encourage private entrepreneurship, private sector job creation, income growth, and greater domestic energy production. In short, it is time for him to embrace the Texas model.

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