“It’s about jobs. In its life, [the healthcare bill] will create 4 million jobs—400,000 jobs almost immediately.” –Speaker Nancy Pelosi, February 2010
Democrats Intensify the Economic Pain
On September 16, 2010, the Census Bureau announced that the percentage of Americans living in poverty rose to 14.3 percent, the highest percentage since 1994. The Bureau reported that nearly 44 million people, or 1 in 7, were in poverty last year, up from 39.8 million in 2008. Additionally, the Bureau reported that 50 million Americans were uninsured in 2009, and the percentage of people with private insurance was the lowest since the government began keeping records in 1987.
This much is clear: The Democrats’ economic agenda has failed. Democrat policies such as the $1.2 trillion “stimulus,” ObamaCare, financial regulatory reform, the $17 billion HIRE Act, and the $26 billion bailout for states have expanded the federal government’s influence in the economy while discouraging private-sector growth. This growth of government is devastating families and small business owners on Main Street.
Despite three years of $1 trillion deficits (FY 2009-11) projected by the Congressional Budget Office, the unemployment rate remains above nine percent for the 16th consecutive month. Economic uncertainty is the only thing stimulated by the Democrats’ record spending. With surprising candor, on September 12, 2010, Austan Goolsbee, the president’s chief economic advisor, stated that unemployment is “going to stay high.” Democrats show no sign of kicking the habit of deficit spending, raising taxes, and increasing regulation, providing little comfort to the nearly 15 million Americans currently unemployed and others concerned about job security.
Republicans stand in contrast to these failed policies with plans to spur robust economic growth and reverse the trend in prolonged joblessness. By implementing common sense policies created in collaboration with business owners and families, Republicans will chart a new course toward free market prosperity, based on individual liberty and limited government.
Little Bang for Big Bucks
A Looming Tax Increase: Without action in the Democrat-controlled Congress, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that Americans in all income brackets will be impacted by higher taxes to the tune of $3.9 trillion beginning January 1, 2011. Most alarmingly, these tax hikes would adversely impact the 75 percent of small business owners that file taxes at individual rates—the same small business owners responsible for nearly two-thirds of private sector job creation.
Small Business Lending Fund: Modeled on the original $700 billion TARP bailout program, many small and mid-sized banks may soon find the federal government their new managing partner through the small business lending fund. With $30 billion of taxpayer money, the federal government will once again attempt to force the hand of private sector firms through fiscal incentives. As detailed by the Special Inspector General for TARP, the Obama administration’s auto task force had severely destabilizing effects: “Treasury made a series of decisions that may have substantially contributed to the accelerated shuttering of thousands of small businesses and thereby potentially adding tens of thousands to the already lengthened unemployment rolls.” Results like these are to be expected from excessive government involvement in the private sector.
The Cost of Job “Creation”: A recent audit by the Los Angeles City Controller evaluated the use of $111 million in federal stimulus funds spent through the local Departments of Transportation and Public Works. The report indicated that the two departments created or retained a total of 54 jobs from the stimulus money. Those jobs cost taxpayers nearly $2 million each. The Los Angeles official was “disappointed” with this number; taxpayers should be infuriated.
Righting the ship
This week Republicans put forward a pledge that will put America on a path towards economic prosperity. The pledge includes actions that will create jobs, end economic uncertainty, and make America more competitive. The pledge will do the following:
Representing its 350,000 small businesses, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) issued a statement supporting Republicans’ Pledge to America noting that it “holds real promise” and “would mean an increased ability for small businesses to do what they do best: create jobs and grow the economy.” Additionally, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBE) endorsed the pledge, saying, “Stopping job-killing tax increases while providing small business owners with a significant tax deduction will free up resources and the pent up unease that is gnawing at so many of our nation's entrepreneurs.”