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Monday, August 22, 2011

Removing the Obstacles to Economic Growth

Eric Cantor
By Eric Cantor, Published: August 21

Our country is facing two related but separate crises. The first is the federal government’s debt crisis, the result of decades of fiscal mismanagement by both political parties as well as unsustainable entitlement commitments. The second is the jobs crisis, which has resulted in painful levels of unemployment and underemployment. President Obama is wrong to think that the answer is to increase spending or raise taxes when so many millions of Americans are out of work.

In fact, the Obama administration’s anti-business, hyper-regulatory, pro-tax agenda has fueled economic uncertainty and sent the message from the administration that “we want to make it harder to create jobs.” There is no other conclusion for policies such as the new Environmental Protection Agency regulations, including the “Transport Rule,” which could eliminate thousands of jobs, or the ozone regulation that would cost upward of $1 trillion and millions of jobs in the construction industry over the next decade. The administration’s new maximum achievable control technology standards for cement are expected to affect nearly 100 cement plants, setting over-the-top requirements resulting in increased costs and possibly thousands of jobs being offshored. There is the president’s silence as the National Labor Relations Board seeks to prevent Boeing from opening a plant in South Carolina that would create thousands of jobs. Such behavior, coupled with the president’s insistence on raising the top tax rate paid by individuals and small businesses, has resulted in a lag in growth that has added to the debt crisis, contributing to our nation’s credit downgrade.

The debt crisis threatens our long-term future: the ability of our children and their children to have the same opportunities to succeed that this and previous generations enjoyed. Republicans passed a budget this spring, written by Rep. Paul Ryan, that would address our challenges head-on by putting in place common-sense reforms to manage our debt over the short and long term.

Unfortunately, we have found President Obama to be an unwilling partner when it comes to getting America’s fiscal house in order. Since taking office, he has added trillions to the debt, ignored the recommendations of his own fiscal commission and put forth a budget that failed to address the drivers of our debt. Then we had to drag him to the table to make even the modest spending cuts that Standard & Poor’s says don’t go far enough.

The president has acknowledged that without reform, spending on entitlement programs is unsustainable. But he has also made clear that he would never support the type of structural changes to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security needed to make these programs solvent as envisioned in our budget — even if Republicans agree to his demand for tax increases. While a compromise on the way to strengthen entitlements may be one thing, raising taxes in this economy is another. Doing so would exacerbate the jobs crisis for the 14 million Americans out of work. It would negatively affect the businesses across America that we are counting on to get our economy going.

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