By Senator John Thune
It was three years ago that the Obama administration dubbed the summer of 2010 the "summer of recovery." Three years later, many Americans are still searching for recovery as our economy continues to struggle under the weight of stagnant economic growth, high unemployment, and dwindling household income. National unemployment remains well above 7 percent, while the economy grew by just 1.7 percent in the second quarter. The median household income has dropped by more than $2,700 since June of 2009, yet health care premiums for American families have skyrocketed by nearly $2,500.
As premiums continue to rise throughout the country, and businesses reduce the number of employee hours, it has become increasingly clear that the president's signature health care law is crushing jobs and economic growth. According to a recent survey conducted by Gallup, 41 percent of small businesses owners have said they have held off on hiring new employees and 38 percent have pulled back on plans to grow their business due to ObamaCare. According to Labor Department data reported by CNN Money, "The number of Americans finding part-time jobs has surged this year, with more than four times as many getting only part-time work as opposed to full-time jobs." In South Dakota, the South Dakota Division of Insurance recently published the exchange rates for 2014, and it appears that individual plans on the exchange will be significantly higher.
Instead of expending time and resources on the implementation of ObamaCare, the Obama administration should be working with Congressional Republicans to enact pro-growth policies that simulate the economy, including comprehensive tax reform. Revenue neutral comprehensive tax reform is a critical way to increase economic growth in our country. Lower tax rates will encourage work and investment, and will make America a more attractive place to do business. Well-designed tax reform can even help reduce the deficit by increasing economic growth.
In addition to tax reform, the president should approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been waiting for approval for nearly five years. According to the Obama State Department, which is responsible for approving the pipeline, the construction of Keystone XL would support 42,000 jobs nationwide over a two year period. In South Dakota, the pipeline would result in significant economic benefits including $470 million in new spending for the South Dakota economy, and additional state and local revenues of more than $10 million.
Finally, the president should rein in onerous regulations on the business community. From 2009 to 2012, President Obama finalized $518 billion in new regulations, which is more than the combined gross domestic product of Portugal and Norway. Just since January 1, 2013, the federal government has published $66 billion in compliance costs, and 81.2 million annual paperwork burden hours.
It is time for America to start down the road to economic recovery, and that begins by enacting comprehensive tax reform, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, reining in burdensome regulations, and permanently delaying ObamaCare for all Americans. Working together to promote these policies and to cut spending and debt, we can grow the economy and create jobs and opportunity for American workers, families, and small businesses.