Families across America have begun planning for the holidays, and this year they are working harder, spending less, and worrying more. Unfortunately, Washington is not doing the same.
The disconnect between Washington and the reality faced by families, workers, and small businesses is real, palpable, and deeply concerning. The reckless agenda being pushed by President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Democrats on the Hill is not helping struggling Americans and small-business job creators — but it is hurting our country.
Their agenda expands the reach of government, increases the deficit, and requires even more money from foreign countries. On everything from spending to cap-and-trade to card check, jobs have taken a back seat.
As a result:
*The $800 billion stimulus package has failed to create — or save — the jobs it promised.
*The national debt is set to double over the next five years, and triple over the next ten. This means that a child born today will be handed a $184,000 bill from the government before her mom and dad hold her for the first time.
*The bailout culture in Washington has caused serious problems throughout the economy, signaling to industries that they will not be held accountable for their mistakes and poor decisions.
All the while, the Democratic majority continues to push a trillion-dollar, government-run health-care overhaul that will actually raise health-care costs for many Americans.
More government spending, more bailouts, more taxes, and more government control of your life. All financed with more borrowing and more debt. There is now talk of a second (or is it a third?) stimulus bill.
Stop the madness.
There is a better way. Conservatives know that we can grow the economy, create jobs, and help struggling families without further mortgaging our children’s future.
I chair the Economic Recovery Solutions Group for House Republicans. This group has been meeting all year and discussing ways to improve the economy. Lately our focus has been on a no-cost jobs plan.
Our ideas are based on the simple premise that an overactive government did not make America the land of promise, prosperity, and opportunity. Our solutions derive from the true American principle that hard work is rewarded. And our goal is to ensure that America fosters competitiveness and accountability, so that we can once again be proud of an America that is a rock of financial stability and sound fiscal policy.
Why have our small businesses, entrepreneurs, and workers been so motivated to work hard and innovate over the years? Because hard work was rewarded.
Why have investors and job creators around the world gravitated to U.S. capital markets? Because America was a place where taxes and regulations fostered competitiveness, transparency, and accountability.
And why have countries around the world made the U.S. dollar the world’s reserve currency? Because America was a rock of financial stability that pursued sound fiscal policies.
With that in mind, here are a few commonsense policies that we should pursue.
*First, we must tear down self-imposed obstacles to economic growth and wealth creation. Therefore, Congress and the Obama administration should stop the deluge of detrimental rules and regulations.
*Second, we should agree to block any federal tax increases until unemployment drops below 5 percent. Americans of all political stripes can agree that the government should never raise taxes during periods of high unemployment.
*Third, we need to restore confidence in America’s economic future. Record deficits and debt — coupled with runaway spending — have shaken confidence in that future. Many believe that the only solution will be to increase taxes or inflate the dollar, which promises lasting pain for small businesses and working families.
*Fourth, we should reform the unemployment system to help people out of work find jobs.
*Fifth, we need to approve three promising free-trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama that have stalled under the new administration. Recently the president stated that increasing U.S. exports by just 1 percent would create over 250,000 jobs.
*Sixth, we must take action to reduce regulatory and tax barriers that inhibit domestic job creation.
*Finally, we must deal swiftly and honestly with the looming commercial real-estate collapse. Congress should move to give bank regulators incentives to deal responsibly with banks and their borrowers.
These are seven simple solutions that don’t involve massive new government spending, new bureaucracies, or more debt. They are based on time-honored principles proven to create jobs and ultimately economic prosperity in America.
So while the president kicks off his jobs summit, we will continue to offer common-sense proposals that are worthy of serious consideration by the president, the Democratic congressional majority, and, more importantly, the American people.
– Rep. Eric Cantor (R., Va.) is the Republican whip in the House of Representatives.