Mr. JEFFRIES. Mr. Speaker, this is decision time in America. We are at a fork in the road, and we have an opportunity to go in either one of two directions. In one direction, the Democratic approach, we can take a balanced approach to dealing with the economic situation that we find ourselves in and our deficit. The other direction, the GOP approach, is to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable amongst us. The Democratic plan will put Americans back to work. The Republican plan will put Americans out of work. It's decision time in America. We can go in one of two different directions.
Now, a balanced approach to deficit reduction has at least four elements to it:
First, invest in the American economy.
Second, increase revenues by closing corporate loopholes that are unfair, unreasonable, and unnecessary.
Third, we can reduce expenditures in a manner that is sensitive to the fragile nature of our economic recovery. We must reduce expenditures in a way that recognizes we still have a long way to go in order to recover, and the meat-cleaver approach advocated by my friends on the other side of the aisle will not make the decision better; it will just make the situation worse.
Lastly, the Democratic approach, the balanced approach, stands up for important social safety net programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that have nothing to do with the economic situation that we find ourselves in right now.
Why should we invest in the American economy?
Well, we don't have an immediate deficit crisis in America right now. We've cut $2.5 trillion from our deficit over the last several years; and we're prepared, on this side of the aisle, to reasonably do more.
But don't overhype the problem. In fact, objective economists have indicated we don't have an immediate deficit problem in America right now. The Speaker of the House of Representatives has conceded that we don't have an immediate deficit crisis in America right now.
Just on Sunday, the chairman of the Budget Committee acknowledged that we don't have an immediate deficit crisis in America right now. That's why we're pursuing a balanced approach.
What we do have is a jobs crisis. Over the last 4 years, under the leadership of President Obama, we have come a long way, almost 6 million private sector jobs added. But we still, of course, have a long way to go.
Let's just look at the landscape. Corporate profits are way up. The stock market is way up. The productivity of the American worker is way up. Yet unemployment remains stubbornly high, and consumer demand remains stagnant.
That's why the Democratic approach is to invest in our economy, invest in education, invest in job training, invest in transportation and infrastructure, invest in research and development, invest in technology and innovation, invest in the things that will continue to make America a leader in the 21st century.
If you invest in our economy, then you will increase jobs for the American worker. If you increase the jobs available to the American worker, consumer demand will increase. If consumer demand increases, the economy will grow; and if the economy grows, the deficit will decline, and so, too, will our debt as a percentage of GDP.
This is decision time in America; and, clearly, the best decision that we can make is a balanced approach to dealing with our economic problems today.