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A Time for Recession or Recovery


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With Congress ready to consider new proposals to create more jobs, we must first consider what three years of multi-trillion dollar deficits has produced. It is time to decide whether we want to continue on the path to another recession or chart a new course to produce economic growth and permanent jobs in the private sector.

More than two years after a trillion dollar stimulus, we are still suffering under the worst unemployment since the Great Depression. Unemployment is now at 9.1%. Unemployment has been above 8% for 30 months--the longest streak since the Great Depression. From March 2009 (the month after the stimulus became law) through July 2011, unemployment has averaged 9.4%.

Stagnant economic growth continues at a pathetic pace. In the second quarter of 2011 growth was estimated at 1.3% and the growth rate for the first quarter of 2011 was downgraded from 1.9% to 0.4%. Since the latest recession ended in June 2009 growth has averaged just 2.4%, which is far too slow to replace the 3.1 million jobs that have been lost since January 2009.

Small business optimism is now at a 10-month low: According to the National Federation of Independent Business' (NFIB) August 2011 report, optimism among small business owners fell to its lowest level since September 2010 and has declined for five straight months. The report also shows that just 2% of small businesses plan on adding jobs over the next three months.

It is critical that in the days and months ahead we do our best to minimize uncertainty. That means stopping the constant threat of new regulations that add unnecessary costs to employers. That means stopping the discussions of new stimulus spending with money that we simply do not have.

We need to help, not hinder, job creators by streamlining our complicated tax code. This includes lowering the tax rate for businesses and individuals to no more than 25%.

As I have long advocated, to help American companies compete in an increasingly global economy we should act now to pass the three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea to create up to 250,000 jobs. We must continue to work for other trade agreements which will open up new markets to American made products.

I am committed to take every sensible step to spur job creation and get our economy back on track so that Americans can do what they do best: create, innovate and lead.


Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Member of Congress

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