Weekly Columns

What is the President's Plan for Economic Recovery?

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Washington, August 24, 2011 | comments

Home sales are at an all time low, but prices for groceries, school supplies and basic necessities like power and gas are going up.  Our economy remains extremely fragile, with signs of continued weakness. The economy is not generating enough jobs and unemployment remains above nine percent.  The stakes couldn’t be higher.  Now, more than ever, the American people need the president to lead.

What is President Obama’s plan for economic recovery? We’re over two and a half years into his Presidency, and President Obama has failed to put forward a plan that grows the economy and put Americans back to work. The president’s policies have only resulted in higher deficits and have failed to create jobs, which is exactly why many are frustrated.  Since President Obama took office on January 20, 2009, the national debt has increased by $3.7 trillion.  To put that in perspective, it took the U.S. from 1776 until 1992 to accumulate the same amount of debt that President Obama accumulated in two and a half years.

More Americans are filing for unemployment, signaling the labor market is still struggling. According to recent Labor Department figures, jobless claims climbed to 408,000, the highest in a month.  Everyone around the country is affected by the slow economy.  At town hall meetings across the country no one will raise their hand when asked if they feel the recession is over. It is because those seeking a job cannot find one.

Employers are slow to hire and are concerned that Washington is not on their side.  They’ve been constantly threatened with higher taxes and more regulation.  The American people are tired of the president’s rhetoric and lack of leadership. A recent Gallup poll showed that only 26% of the American people approve of President Obama on the economy.   

The American people are waiting on the president to offer solutions.  Last week, rather than working on finding common ground to solve our economic troubles, the president instead went on a bus tour to blame Congress.  Many Americans are struggling to decide how they are going to pay their electric bill and keep food on the table to feed their family.  They don’t want to hear us blaming each other for the problems – they want the president to lead.  

When Congress comes back into session, it will need to pass a fiscal year 2012 budget.  This will be no easy task because of differences in policy ideologies. While some cling to the notion that we can tax, borrow and spend our way to prosperity, this path is unsustainable, and the American people want serious spending cuts and reform.  Democrats want to raise taxes and continue spending at unsustainable rates, while Republicans want to shrink the size of government, keep taxes low and cut spending. 

Our challenge in passing a budget has been compounded by the fact that it’s been almost 1000 days since the Senate has passed a budget.  While the House passed a budget resolution in May, the Senate has failed to govern. Further, it’s clear the president hasn’t offered a serious solution - the president’s budget was so bad that the Senate rejected it by a vote of 97-0. 

We must bring spending down to levels our government can afford because we need to live within our means.  We must work together to make sure the budget is stripped of duplicative programs and wasteful spending.

Our failure to create jobs and get the economy back on track is because of the president’s short-sighted policies and his lack of leadership. President Obama this week outrageously suggested that “bad luck,” not bad policies, is to blame for the bad economy. His DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Democrats are “proud” of Obama’s policies. These excuses won’t change the reality of the ongoing joblessness across America.

Our country is at a crossroads, and tough decisions must be made. Rhetoric will not lower the deficit and inaction is not an economic driver.  Only strong leadership, good economic policies and concrete proposals will help put our country back on a path to stability.

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