Weekly Columns

Are the Small Gains in the Job Market Deceiving?

f t # e
Washington, March 10, 2010 | comments
For too long, the American people have faced extraordinarily difficult economic circumstances that have led to our high job unemployment rate. Recent reports that the job market may be making small gains is welcome news, but anyone who has been spending time in East Tennessee knows, we have a long way to go.

Last year, Democrats in Congress passed a so-called economic stimulus bill that was promised to create millions of jobs and stop the increasing unemployment rate. Unfortunately, the opposite happened as more jobs were lost and the unemployment rate climbed into double digits. I voted against this bill because I was concerned that too much spending was going to too many programs that would not create jobs.

Now, the Washington Times reports Federal investigators “have received more than 730 allegations of waste or fraud in stimulus act funding so far, have canceled the contracts of some bad actors and have sent a couple of dozen cases to the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and prosecutors.” As the 'pace of spending peaks, continuing to police the $862 billion will take a huge portion of investigators’ resources over the next year - as much as 60 percent of some inspector generals’ budgets, according to a report released Tuesday by Sen. Mark Pryor, Arkansas Democrat, who has taken a keen interest in weeding out fraud from stimulus spending.”

I brought a very straightforward philosophy to Congress – I believe in empowering individuals; spending less than you take in; and keeping government intrusion to a minimum. People all over the country are tightening their belts and government should do the same. Government doesn’t create wealth and income – government can only redirect and redistribute wealth and income. Economic recovery does not come by creating government programs and new bureaucracies. A lasting recovery comes by growing the economy from the ground up rather than pursuing bungling notions of growing the economy from the government down.

In a recent CNBC editorial, they determined the economic stimulus was a “waste of time,” and quoted several analysts warning: “Taking on all this debt at a time when deficits are already very high will lead to financial ruin.” And what’s extremely troubling is that recently a top White House economic advisor was recommending the government spend even more than it already has, simply ignoring the fact that our national deficit is spiraling out of control and this nation is facing a fiscal crisis of epic proportions.

In the past five years, federal spending has climbed from a historic average of 20 percent of the American economy to nearly 25 percent today, and it’s rising. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the first five months of this fiscal year the federal government ran a deficit of $655 billion, keeping the country on track for a record $1.6 trillion deficit this year.

Yet, the White House advisers are recommending we go further into debt? This makes absolutely no sense and it’s another example of how out of touch this Administration and the Democratic Majority are with the needs of the American people.

Nearly everyone in the First District of Tennessee is struggling during these difficult economic times. Congress should be spending its time working on responsible legislation that creates jobs. This Congress needs to rein in spending and learn from past mistakes.
f t # e