Sen. John Thune
Late last month, the federal government released preliminary numbers on economic growth in the first quarter of 2016, and let me tell you, the news wasn’t good. The U.S. economy grew at a dismal rate of 0.5 percent during the first three months of the year, which essentially means it barely grew at all. While any one report of slow or nonexistent economic growth is bad, under President Obama, weak growth has become the new norm.
2.1 percent. That’s how much (or how little, depending on how you look at it) the economy has grown, on average, since June 2009 when the recession officially ended. In the typical post-1960 recovery, by contrast, economic growth averaged 3.7 percent. And while a 1.6 percentage point difference might not sound like a lot, it’s a huge difference. It’s the difference between a stagnant economy and a flourishing economy. More importantly, for families across South Dakota, it’s the difference between surviving and thriving.
For too many American families, this slow economic growth and dismal recovery has prematurely ended a lot of their dreams – dreams like owning their own home, sending their kids to college, and having a secure retirement. And the kind of growth we need to turn this ship around is nowhere in sight. Sadly, the Obama economy has some leading economists wondering if 2 percent growth is something Americans should just start getting used to.
Fortunately, though, we’re not condemned to the Obama economy’s weak growth, because if you look at the president’s record, it’s easy to see why our economy is still sputtering along. A failed trillion-dollar stimulus, $1.7 trillion in new taxes, Obamacare, more than 2,700 new federal regulations, and federal debt that has nearly doubled on the president’s watch. I could go on and on. The upside to all of this is that the president’s policies don’t have to be permanent.
We can repeal Obamacare and the incredible burdens it’s placing on families and small businesses. We can replace the president’s tax hikes with comprehensive tax reform that focuses on lowering taxes for families and making America the best place in the world to do business. And we can repeal some of the thousands of burdensome regulations the president has imposed over the last seven-plus years in office.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that every regulation the government imposes, no matter how small, has a cost – and those costs are paid by American families and businesses. Take for example the president’s decision to allow the EPA to regulate ponds and ditches on private land. The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule will have significant economic impacts for farmers, ranchers, and other property owners, who will likely be hit with new federal permits, compliance costs, and the threat of significant fines.
Repealing some of the worst of President Obama’s regulations, like WOTUS, would drastically reduce the burdens facing American families and businesses, and that would put more money in families’ pockets and free up business to do what they do best – innovate and create jobs.
If we continue on the path we’re on right now, we might be the first generation of Americans to leave the next generation worse off, but we don’t have to be. We can reverse the course the president has set during his administration and put in place the kind of policies that will grow our economy and lift the burdens on American families. Senate Republicans have already been working to undo the worst policies of the Obama administration, and we’re going to continue to fight until our nation’s economy is thriving and all families have the opportunity to achieve the American dream once again.