The Corner

The Ultimate Broken Promise

And tonight, I am grateful that this Congress delivered, and pleased to say that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is now law. Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs.”

Those were President Obama’s words just one week after signing the “stimulus” into law three years ago today.

The nearly one trillion dollar “stimulus” package was supposed to be Democrats’ government fix for the American economy. Not only did President Obama promise 3.5 million jobs, but the White House’s chief economists insisted that if only we passed the nearly trillion dollars in government spending, national unemployment would never reach as high as 8 percent. 

Yet here we are three years later, the American economy is, net, down more than 1.1 million jobs and the national unemployment rate still hasn’t dropped below 8 percent. Our home states of California and Illinois have respective unemployment rates of 11.1 percent and 9.8 percent and nationally, the Congressional Budget Office just reported our nation is in the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression.

There is no better example of the fundamental failure of the Obama administration’s approach to economics than the failed stimulus.

Reminders of this failure are all too prevalent in communities across the country. Many of the supposed “shovel ready” projects never came to fruition, a fact which the president himself has acknowledged. Americans were promised jobs and instead were saddled with another trillion dollars in debt.

Unfortunately for Americans, the Obama administration’s stimulus “promise” was broken nearly immediately, when unemployment continued to rise, and after three years, their “stimulus” still hasn’t brought unemployment below 8 percent, a number they promised we would never even reach. Too many families are still struggling, and taxpayers are wondering where their money went.

That’s why Americans have rejected this failed approach. They’ve had the unfortunate experience that has once again proven the government simply doesn’t create jobs that last. We can’t simply throw money at a problem and expect the economy to grow; we can’t gamble taxpayer’s money away on boondoggles for the President’s political donors; and we can’t continue to pile trillions in more debt on future generations. We know the way to remove barriers to job creation is through pro-growth private-sector solutions that get the government off their backs of small businesses and innovators.

And yet, the White House still refuses to move away from the failed policies that attempt to tax, borrow, and spend our way into prosperity. Their determination was on full display this week when they unveiled their latest near-trillion-dollar-deficit budget — a budget that is not built to last, but built for last.

Instead of proposing fundamental tax reform that would make America more competitive, create countless jobs, and fix an outdated and manipulated tax system to ensure no one receives preferential treatment, the White House simply called for more taxes. This is despite the fact that over the last three years we’ve seen proof that penalizing small business that file through the individual tax system does not create jobs.

Rather than learn from the mistakes of the “stimulus” spending binge on “green jobs” that recent reports show could cost the American taxpayer at least $3 billion, their budget doubled down on “green” stimulus spending, ensuring the Obama administration will keep gambling and the American taxpayer will keep losing.

And on debt, their budget makes it even more likely that future generations will inherit a diminished future. They failed to propose a serious solution to tackling our long-term debt — more of which has accumulated under President Obama than any other president. Americans need to look no further than Greece to see what will happen to our nation if we don’t rein in unsustainable entitlement spending.

It is our hope that the president and his Democratic counterparts in Congress will join us in our efforts to fundamentally change the outlook for our nation’s future. We must put forward ideas that will empower entrepreneurs and innovators to help put our country back to work and give them the freedom that has long allowed our nation to lead the world.

— California congressman Kevin McCarthy is House majority whip and Illinois congressman Pete Roskam is chief deputy whip.