Weekly Columns

A Better Way To a Strong Economy

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Washington, September 7, 2016 | Tiffany Haverly (202-226-8072) | comments

On Monday, we observed Labor Day, a federal holiday that began as a way to honor the contributions and achievements of the American worker. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has hovered around 4.9 percent for most of 2016, meaning many are still struggling to find work. Worse, many Americans – 94 million to be exact – have given up looking for work altogether. The labor-force participation rate is around 62 percent, the lowest since 1978. This is unacceptable and highlights just how much work we need to do to get our country back on track. The recession may have ended in 2009, but too many people are still struggling to make ends meet. We can do better.

There are many ways we can grow our economy, and House Republicans have a plan to do just that. Did you know that, in 2015, regulations cost us $1.89 trillion in lost productivity and growth? If our regulatory system were a country, it would have the world’s 9th largest economy. There’s no reason red tape should stand in the way of American prosperity, but it does time and time again. That’s why House Republicans included 101 suggestions to cut red tape and create jobs in a Better Way, the blueprint Speaker Ryan and House Republicans rolled out earlier this year. There are six main pillars of the Republican plan to make our economy strong again: smarter regulations, affordable and reliable energy, financial independence, education for adults and students, internet innovation and liability lawsuit reform.

First and foremost, the federal government has no business regulating over the will and ability of states unless absolutely necessary. Federal regulations should be used as the last available option; regulators should not write regulations searching for problems. How many times have you read about a regulation and asked yourself why it was needed? I’m sure the people who spent 9.45 billion hours on federal paperwork in fiscal year 2013 would like to know why certain regulations are necessary. As a Congressman, I keep a close watch on all regulations issued by the federal government, and more often than not I find myself scratching my head and asking, “What in the world are they thinking?” This needs to stop. While we can all agree responsible regulations can be useful, there’s no question our regulatory environment is out of control.

A good example of a regulation that works for the people it is intended to serve is the Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. This voluntary program allows producers who meet certain standards to market their products under the organic seal and makes it easier for consumers to make informed purchases. This regulation came about after a patchwork of state rules and regulations made it difficult for consumers to have a clear understanding of what they were purchasing.

Americans also should have access to affordable and reliable energy. To do this, we need a comprehensive energy policy that truly utilizes all available energy sources. We should expedite the permitting process to tap into our domestic energy resources, which will help lower costs to both hardworking families and job creators. Additionally, we should give states control of the federal land within their borders. Doing these things will lower the cost of energy, allowing consumers to keep more of what they earn while also creating jobs in the energy sector around the country. To me, this is a commonsense approach to energy creation in this country, but delays and red tape consistently keep the energy sector from reaching its full potential.

Education is another critical element to economic recovery, as education is one of the only proven paths out of poverty. More Americans should have the option to go to college and participate in job-training programs if they choose to do so, without having to worry about exorbitant costs. To lower the cost of both traditional and adult education, we should look at compliance costs within the university system and work to further streamline duplicative job training programs. Two additional ideas included in the Better Way plan are keeping the government out of regulating the Internet and stopping frivolous lawsuits. We can all support commonsense rules to protect online consumers, but it’s a fine line that must be walked carefully. Overregulation of the Internet will just further stifle our economic recovery. Finally, we must stop baseless lawsuits in a civil justice system that heavily favors trial lawyers.

We’ve got a lot of work to do to make our economy strong again, but House Republicans have a better way. You can read all the details of a Better Way at better.gop.

Feel free to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family. 
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