Last month, I traveled across our district visiting families, business, and community leaders to listen to their concerns. Everyone I talked to told me the same thing, that they are worried about the economy. At a time when zero new jobs were added last month, the unemployment rate remains at 9.1%, and the Congressional Budget Office projects that next year's federal budget will have a deficit of $1.3 trillion, it is hard to think about much else.
The simple truth is that the government can't create jobs, only our private industry can. And every business tells me the same thing: that they are afraid of new taxes and regulations being thrown at them by over zealous bureaucrats in Washington.
I applaud the President and the Democrats for finally focusing on job creation, but after years of trying their failed policies things have only gotten worse. Two years ago it was the "stimulus package," and last year it was Obamacare. By now it should be clear we cannot spend our way to prosperity.
The best thing Washington can do to create jobs is something they always hate doing: use common sense. There is no better example of this than the Reagan policies of reducing taxes, spending, and regulation that brought on unprecedented growth. By using these common-sense solutions, along with expanding our markets overseas, we can get our country back on the right track.
I've often said that "if you take away agriculture and you take away manufacturing, you don't have much left." Both industries are vital to Southwest Missouri and that is why the 7th District has a lot to be proud of when it comes to job creation.
Many world-class companies have roots right here in the Ozarks. Able Manufacturing in Joplin manufactures parts for all kinds of customers like Caterpillar and the Chicago and New York City transit systems. All of the French's Mustard in America is made right here in our Reckitt Benckiser plant in Springfield. Kraft, one of the best-known brands in the world, not only manufactures their products here but all Kraft aged cheese is shipped to Springfield for aging at the Springfield Underground.
Right now the White House is sitting on three free trade agreements: Panama, Columbia, and South Korea. It is estimated that by pursuing these agreements we would create up to 250,000 jobs, and many of those would be right here in Southwest Missouri. Jobs would be created as our companies are allowed to compete. When farmers and companies such as Caterpillar have new markets opened to them more jobs will be created in the Ozarks.
14 Million Americans are out of work. 4 Million have been out of work for over a year. We don't have time to wait. We need to make the U.S. the best place in the world to run a business again. And by pursuing these free trade agreements and other common-sense solutions for our job creators we will be on the right track.