The state of our union

Friday, January 29, 2010

Last week President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. Traditionally this speech has been a chance for the President to outline his agenda for the coming year. Instead, President Obama wasted an opportunity to embrace a new approach for our Nation by defending a legislative agenda much of America has already rejected.

American families and small businesses have been forced to cut back and make tough choices to live within their means. While I welcomed the President's call for a limited spending freeze, I have serious doubts considering his record of fiscal irresponsibility.

Let's not forget this President spearheaded a trillion-dollar "stimulus" bill with debatable impact, a fiscally-irresponsible budget which doubles our debt in five years and triples it in ten, and a costly government takeover of health care -- the future of which is being hashed out behind closed doors and without any input from Republicans.

While talk of a spending freeze and increased budgetary restraint sounds good, Congress and the Administration must do more than invoke rhetoric and rely on budget gimmicks. We should immediately pass strict budget caps limiting federal spending and abandon the current legislative agenda, which is making it harder for middle-class families and small businesses to save, invest, and hire new employees.

Since coming to Congress I have advocated for a forward-looking energy policy which frees our nation from relying on foreign sources of energy, which is why I was pleased the President called for a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants as well as opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. Having toured the Louisiana Gulf Coast and viewed this technology with my own eyes, I can attest to the potential for job creation and economic growth if we are allowed to develop our own domestic energy resources. We need to implement an all-of-the-above energy plan which includes not only nuclear and offshore exploration, but also wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas, and biofuels.

Even though there is no debate exporting more American-made goods and services will create jobs here at home, Congress and President Obama have done little to promote U.S. exports. This inaction has put American companies, farmers, ranchers, and workers at a disadvantage internationally as other countries race ahead to take these markets from us.

This is why I agree with President Obama's statement: "If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores." I'll be more specific: we must pass stalled trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea immediately.

The importance of enacting these trade agreements is obvious. Every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.65 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing and production. Nebraska's $4 billion in agricultural exports translates into $6.7 billion in additional economic activity.

Apart from agriculture, Nebraska's export shipments of merchandise in 2008 totaled $5.4 billion, up 134 percent from $2.3 billion in 2004. This was the sixth-largest percentage increase among the 50 states over the same period.

Since first taking office, President Obama has seen unemployment increase by nearly 50 percent. During this difficult time of double-digit unemployment, families and small businesses are looking for policies which will help create jobs and ensure energy stability. We cannot address runaway federal spending while advancing a multi-trillion dollar government takeover of health care, another multi-billion dollar stimulus plan, and a "cap-and-trade" energy tax.

In the end, Americans are not looking for more speeches. They are looking for real action from Congress and this Administration to control spending, reduce our deficit, improve our economy, and create jobs.

View 1 comment
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • Any third grader could have concluded it would be good for our economy to increase foreign trade.

    Inflating the dollar to make it easier to trade truly punishes the baby boomers by gutting the buying power of their life savings.

    The offer of reducing the deficit "after this fiscal year" is weak and ineffective. Obama still "hopes" to have the deficit below 1 tril by 2012. By then, we will be unable to recover.

    Line up in November, and use your ballot to send Washington a message that conservative spending is a job requirement. With some balance of power, we do have a chance of limiting the waste.

    -- Posted by shredder09 on Mon, Feb 1, 2010, at 9:06 AM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: