By Representative Jeb Hensarling
President Barack Obama visited Eastfield College Tuesday to urge support for his latest economic plan. If Congress were not in session, I would have personally welcomed him to Mesquite , but offered far less welcome to his economic plan. His original stimulus plan helped bring our nation record unemployment, record poverty and record deficits. We should have little confidence that Stimulus Two will yield different results.
At the core of his plan is temporary payroll tax relief. At best, temporary payroll tax relief yields temporary jobs. Unfortunately, the president's plan combines this temporary tax relief with permanent tax increases on job creators, damaging any incentive they might otherwise have had to create jobs. In order to create jobs, we must lower taxes on job creators by reforming the tax code -- making it simpler, flatter and fairer.
Another major portion of the president's plan would fund more infrastructure projects. While much of the nation's infrastructure could use upgrading, after the failure of Stimulus One's shovel-ready projects to decrease our unemployment rate, I am doubtful of Stimulus Two's success. With the Solyndra scandal still making headlines, I am even more doubtful of the wisdom of allowing the federal government to choose winners and losers in the marketplace.
If the president had the opportunity to listen to the job creators I talk to in my district, he would have heard that our economy doesn't suffer so much from a lack of capital, but from a lack of confidence. It is a lack of confidence born of our debt crisis, rising taxes and regulatory onslaught.
Today the administration has 210 new major regulations pending that would each impose $100 million or more on our economy and have imposed the greatest regulatory burden on our economy in 30 years. As one fed-up small-business owner who recently shuttered his business told me, "I got to the point where I didn't think my government wanted me to succeed." House Republicans have numerous bills pending in the Senate that would help to modify the regulatory burden to help create jobs.
No society has ever taxed its way into economic prosperity. Yet the president's budget contains $1.5 trillion of new taxes on our economy, much of them falling on the nation's engine for job creation: small businesses. House Republicans are working to prevent these tax increases and have a plan to make our tax code fairer, flatter, simpler and more competitive in order to create more jobs. I've been encouraged by what the president has said on the subject and hope he will work with us to reform the tax code.
Finally, our historic debt crisis hangs over job creators' heads like a looming cloud. I have listened to countless employers and they each echo the same concern, perhaps voiced best by one small-businessman who said, "I know I'm going to have to pay for all this debt someday. Now is not the time I'm going to risk buying any new equipment or hiring a bunch of folks." The bottom line is: Historic levels of debt lead to historic tax increases, which can only lead to historic unemployment.
Unfortunately, after giving us our nation's first, second and third $1 trillion-plus deficits, the president's budget only represents more of the same. House Republicans have passed a budget that reduces the president's deficits by $4.4 trillion, addresses the drivers of our structural debt and puts the nation on a sustainable fiscal path.
Again, I was honored the president chose to visit my congressional district. As our nation faces both a jobs crisis and a debt crisis, I, like other House Republicans, stand ready to work with him to find common ground and solutions that will put Americans back to work.