Americans can all agree — the purpose of government is to secure the blessings of liberty and allow the people to prosper. One way to do that is to create a system that encourages everyone to reach their educational and employment potentials. These are bipartisan goals. No one party has a monopoly on these aspirations.
Current federal policies are getting in the way. The national unemployment rate is over 9 percent. Arizona’s rate is slightly higher, and six of the eight counties that comprise Arizona’s First Congressional District have unemployment rates that far exceed 10 percent. As I traveled across my district this past August recess, the economy was without a doubt the No. 1 concern of my constituents.
I attended the president’s speech announcing his plan to create jobs. I found some encouraging signs, and some things that cause great concern. There seems to be a fundamental disconnect on what a job is. From a governmental perspective, which is the perspective I must have as a congressman and which the president should have, a “job” is something that must create wealth and come from the private sector. That is because the government cannot create wealth, and it really cannot “create” jobs. This philosophy is not the way to secure our liberty and prosperity. That is the road to financial ruin. High taxes and more borrowing will not get us out of this recession.
For that reason, I was disappointed with much of the president’s speech. The president’s lack of private sector experience shows when he proposes a plan to “create jobs” that is simply another failed stimulus plan that would put us another $400-plus billion in debt, with no plan for how to pay for it.
Our country is broke. Washington’s role needs to be one of fostering private sector jobs.
The president acknowledges that the current federal regulatory environment is harmful, yet his agencies keep creating them. In the first six months of the 2011 fiscal year, 15 major regulations were issued, with annual costs exceeding $5.8 billion. Overall, the Obama administration imposed 75 new major regulations since January 2009, with annual costs of $38 billion. The government needs to implement a whole-scale repeal of unnecessary and wasteful regulations. As a small-business owner for over 25 years, I know the federal policies are working against business, not with it.
My constituents want an end to the partisan gridlock in Congress. They want solutions to the problems facing our country. I come from a family of 10 children — five Republicans, four Democrats, and one Independent. My whole life was centered on respectful debate and disagreement. I also know that if we are to move this country forward, we have to work in a bipartisan fashion. The president did mention some initiatives I believe we can work together on.
For example, I appreciated the suggestion of a reduction in the payroll tax. Lowering taxes in general has always proven to help the economy as a whole. If the president is serious about lowering taxes, he will have my support.
Like the president, I believe in infrastructure. A solid infrastructure system is critical to our country’s economic success. Currently, our country has over $139 billion per year in investment needs to just maintain physical and performance conditions on the nation’s highways and bridges, let alone finish new and needed projects. A fast-growing state like Arizona, particularly rural Arizona, is hit hardest by the country’s failure to adequately maintain infrastructure. I am committed to working with the president and congressional leaders from both parties to address this pressing problem.
It is important to point out that the president gave a speech. He did not deliver a bill. So no one knows the details of his proposal. I know that at a time when our nation has more than 14 million people out of work, Congress should be focusing on policies that help create good-paying, sustainable, private sector jobs, not spending more money the country does not have. House Republicans have been pushing legislation — concrete proposals that accomplish this — such as my proposal for 3,700 private sector jobs, also known as H.R. 1904. I hope the president will start advocating for many of these common-sense solutions that will truly stimulate the U.S. economy.