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Freshman Class on Jobs and Debt

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DUFFY. I thank the gentlelady for yielding. I agree with most everything you said tonight, but I have to disagree with you on one point. With regard to Medicare, the President does have a plan. I talk to seniors all over my district. One of the things that makes our seniors so angry is that over the course of their lifetime, the money that they have put in their Social Security accounts, it's been robbed. It's been taken out and spent for other things.

So what the President does in ObamaCare is he takes half a trillion dollars out of Medicare and uses it to spend for ObamaCare. Everyone agrees that we have to fix Medicare. The President agrees there's a problem, Bill Clinton agrees there's a problem, Republicans agree there's a problem. How do we fix it? Well, what the President does is says, I'm going to institute the IPAD board, the Independent Payment Advisory Board. This is a board that's going to look at prices that we pay our health care providers, and it's going to reduce those reimbursements--reimbursements that are already incredibly low.

What does that mean? It's going to affect the access to care for our current seniors. That is absolutely unacceptable. We have a plan in place that's going to save Medicare, it's going to protect Medicare, and we're going to continue this great program for future generations. Let's not be mistaken. The President has a plan that is going to kill Medicare and provide a lack of service to our seniors.

I do want to move from that to jobs, though, because that is what is on everyone's mind. As I travel central and northern Wisconsin, people are concerned about jobs. There's a lack of opportunity. There's a lack of prosperity. And so I want to review what the Democrats did, which is they talked to folks who will come up with abstract theories. They went and talked to university professors, and they came up with an $800 billion-plus stimulus bill. Remember, that was their jobs plan: $800 billion of government spending. They said government spending will lead to economic growth, prosperity, wealth, and sustainable jobs.

We know that government spending doesn't lead to sustainable jobs. It has never worked. It doesn't work. And that's why when they promised that we would have unemployment of only 8 percent and we would create millions of jobs, the alternative happened. We've lost millions of jobs, and we've had unemployment reach almost 10 percent.

What we've done is not talk to the professors who sit in the classroom. I've gone out and talked to job creators, people who are actually putting people in my community back to work. And what do they say? Why aren't they creating jobs? They continually talk about uncertainty in the marketplace. What does that mean? When they talk about uncertainty, they talk about a $14.3 trillion debt, the fact that we're going to borrow $12.5 trillion this year alone. We're going to borrow a trillion dollars every year for the next 10 years. As the gentleman from Illinois said, we are cascading towards a cliff and there's a road sign that says: Danger: Pump the breaks. You're about to go over. That's what we're going to do.

Our job creators are saying, Listen, with this massive debt, it creates uncertainty. It creates uncertainty because we don't know what interest rates are going to be in the very near future. We're concerned about inflation because government is printing money to purchase our debt. They're concerned about punishing tax increases. They're concerned about health care costs with ObamaCare. As the gentlelady from Alabama said, they're concerned about regulation.

In my district, we have a great forest product industry. We make paper in my district. Boiler MACT is going to kill jobs in central Wisconsin and send them to China where they have no regulation.

All these things have come together to create uncertainty, which means our job creators aren't reinvesting; they're not expanding; they're not growing; they're not innovating. Do you know what? It doesn't hurt the job creator. It hurts the families in our communities because they have a lack of opportunity for jobs.

I want to just point to a chart that we have here.

When we have recessions, there is what's called "symmetry.'' If you have a U-shaped decline in this recession, you'll have a U-shaped recovery. If you have a V-shaped decline, you'll have a V-shaped recovery. That's our history, and you'll see that in this chart. What has happened differently in this recession, the great recession, is we've had a V-shaped decline; the recovery has ticked up a little bit, and then it has flat-lined. Why has it flat-lined?--because of the uncertainty that has been created coming from Washington: from our Democrat colleagues on the other side of the aisle and this administration. It's causing a lack of willingness for our job creators to reinvest.

I want to bring up one last point.

I continually hear how our friends want to increase taxes on our job creators. I think anyone who looks at that says we will not create jobs by taxing the job creator. I think it's a good example. If those who say we should raise taxes are concerned about jobs going overseas, it's a pretty simple example that I use:

You have Wal-Mart and Target and Kmart--all the big-box retailers. They compete against one another, right? They're competing. Yet Kmart is not doing so well. They're laying people off. They're closing stores, right?

My friends on the other side of the aisle, the Democrats, they would come in and they would advise Kmart. They'd say, Listen. You have to bring in more revenue. You have to keep these people employed. You have to keep these stores open. You need more revenue. To bring in more revenue, all you have to do is raise your prices. If you raise your prices, you'll bring in more revenue.

We all know that's not what will happen. If you raise your prices at Kmart, you will drive more shoppers to Wal-Mart and Target. If you raise the cost of doing business in America, you are going to send more of our jobs to China, India, Mexico, Vietnam; but you're going to outsource these jobs because you're raising the cost of doing business in America.

Let's make sure we make America a competitive place where our job creators can do what they do best, which is to create jobs and to put our hardworking families back to work.


Mr. DUFFY. I agree. Americans are sick of being lied to. We're going to level with the American people.

We just had a joint economic hearing a couple of days ago, and we learned that it is 18 percent more expensive to manufacture in America as opposed to other countries, and that's outside of wages. That's our Tax Code and our regulations. It's more expensive to manufacture in America. Those are the policies right here in Washington that are making it more expensive. That's absolutely wrong.

I've got to tell you I had a chance to listen to our colleagues on the Democrat side of the aisle go on about tax breaks for big oil companies. I don't know if anyone heard their great conversation about tax breaks for big oil companies.

But I just got here in January. I'm a freshman. I'm new to this, but I don't recall our passing any bills that had tax breaks for oil companies. And they had control of this House for 4 years. Where were their bills to deal with tax breaks for big oil companies? I never saw them.

I hear this commentary that tries to get people ginned up, and it takes our eye off the ball, which is true job creation and making us more competitive in a global economy.


Mr. DUFFY. Will the gentlewoman yield?

Mrs. ROBY. I yield to the gentleman from Wisconsin.

Mr. DUFFY. And if you look at tapping into these oil reserves, what does that do to endanger the security of this country? As the gentlelady knows, in the South, whether it's tornadoes or whether it's floods or whether it's hurricanes, things happen in the gulf where we would have to tap into the reserve because our energy supply could be at risk. And here for political purposes to try to drive prices down over the summer driving season, the President has tapped into that reserve. I think that's absolutely unacceptable for political purposes, especially, as we know, that real risks come up that can cause us a need for that energy supply.


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