Senator John ThuneMembers of Congress from both parties as well as President Obama have been talking a great deal recently about creating jobs and moving the economy forward. What has generated far less discussion, however, is where new jobs might be created. The White House and Democrats in Congress have pursued policies that will, at best, create more government jobs, but will not do much in the way of encouraging private businesses to grow, which is the key to long term economic strength.
The national unemployment rate stands at 9.7 percent. The federal government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in an attempt to bring this rate down, but that approach has not yielded the desired result. Unfortunately, a great deal of business uncertainty has been created as a result of legislative priorities within the Democrat-led Congress.
The recently enacted health care legislation puts an enormous strain on American businesses, both large and small, in the form of higher taxes and new regulations. Several employers have prompted news headlines recently by openly discussing how costly they expect complying with the new law to be, and other businesses can expect similar impacts when various parts of the new bill are implemented. Increased costs as mandated by the federal government threaten private economic growth, and until the costs of the Democrat health care bill are fully understood, businesses may be reluctant to hire new employees.
Congressional Democrats are pursuing similarly costly mandates in the form of a new climate change bill. The controversial bill that passed the House of Representatives last year and the one that could still be debated before the Senate would increase fuel and energy costs for American families and move energy production and manufacturing jobs overseas. The consequences of more job killing legislation would be more than our economy can handle, both now and in the foreseeable future.
Of greatest concern to our nation’s long-term economic health is the dangerous level of government spending, which has pushed our national debt to roughly $12.8 trillion. This spending has been driven by not only the reckless stimulus bill, but also by a significant increase in spending in discretionary appropriations. Because of this drastic increase, over 40 cents of every dollar spent by the federal government in 2009 was borrowed, leading to increasing concerns about the stability of the dollar and to an increase in the government’s borrowing costs.
In reality, the only jobs that the government can create are jobs within the government. Supporting an ever-increasing federal payroll means even greater deficits and higher taxes. Instead of rushing out to “create jobs,” the government should adopt policies that promote private economic growth. Small business tax relief, fewer federal mandates, and more business friendly policies will give the real employment engines in our economy the fuel they need to run smoothly.