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Thursday, May 23, 2013
President Obama's Second StimulusPosted Thursday, September 15, 2011, at 11:26 AM
Last week, President Barack Obama called together a joint session of Congress in an effort to roll out his so-called "jobs plan." While I believe the President raised the bar too high with his choice of venue, I urged him to use the opportunity to roll out a new set of ideas in order to jumpstart job growth by embracing pro-growth tax policies, reducing costly regulations, and sending Congress three pending trade bills for approval.
Unfortunately, these suggestions fell on deaf ears.
Instead, the President unveiled yet another stimulus bill that he's desperately trying to rebrand as a jobs plan. The proposal -- which relies on permanent tax hikes in order to pay for temporary spending -- is simply more of the same after the first so-called stimulus, which cost nearly $1 trillion and failed to create private sector jobs. In fact, during the two and a half years since the President signed his first stimulus bill into law, we have lost 1.7 million jobs. The President's latest stimulus bill is estimated by his own advisors to cost $447 billion, while many analysts believe it will cost much more.
Meanwhile, not a single job was created in this country during the month of August. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office recently predicted that unemployment will likely remain around 9 percent through the fourth quarter of 2012. Since the President took office, America's unemployment has increased 17 percent, our federal debt has increased 39 percent, gas prices are up 98 percent, home values have decreased 11 percent, and health insurance premiums have increased 19 percent.
Clearly, the President's policies aren't working. But that hasn't stopped him from traveling the country holding campaign-style rallies in swing states trying to sell his new stimulus plan that is paid for with higher taxes for American job creators. And while the President is delivering speeches demanding that Congress pass this bill, there are families, farmers, seniors, and job creators nationwide who are still looking for real solutions that will create more certainty during a time when we face high unemployment and record debt.
Now is not the time for more empty rhetoric -- it's time for real solutions. That's why I joined my colleagues last week in calling for the President to send Congress the job-promoting trade agreements pending with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. Passage of these agreements, which have languished on the President's desk since the day he took office, will create new American jobs -- and won't cost taxpayers a dime. But with every day these trade deals linger, America is losing jobs and market share to competing countries.
I recently cosponsored legislation with Senator Susan Collins and several of our colleagues that would place a one-year moratorium on significant new regulations that hurt private sector job creation in America. The Federal Register, which lists all federal rules and regulations, now stands at 83,000 pages -- 77 percent larger than it was under President Ronald Reagan. By passing a moratorium on new rules that cost the economy more than $100 million per year, we can provide job creators with more certainty to grow their businesses and hire more workers.
These steps will help move us in the right direction, and Republicans in Congress stand ready to work with the President on these and other proposals to put Americans back to work. However, we are not going to repeat the actions of the last Democrat-led Congress and rubberstamp another massive "stimulus" after the first failed to create private sector jobs. And tax hikes on job creators won't help move our economy in the right direction -- no matter how the President attempts to rebrand it.
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U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) serves as a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations as well as the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
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