The Stimulus: One Year Later
A little more than a year ago, on February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the so-called "stimulus" act. The $862 billion stimulus bill was supposed to create 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010. In reality, my concerns it wouldn't work regretfully held true, and since it passed in February 2009, 3.3 million Americans have been put out of work.
When this bill was signed into law, national unemployment was 7.6 percent. The President promised the stimulus bill would hold unemployment to less than 8.2 percent nationally. But in the year since, unemployment has soared to more than 10 percent, and in fact is much higher. The total unemployment numbers, including those who have given up looking for full-time work, are now estimated at 17.3 percent.
Unless robust job creation begins immediately, the gap between the President's rhetoric and reality will grow to six million or even seven million jobs by the end of the year.
The stimulus bill was put together so quickly and so secretively, no Member of Congress had a chance to read it before it passed, and it shows. Unemployment is increasing as businesses continue to shed jobs, including 20,000 more lost just last month.
The cost of this bill is truly staggering. In ten years, the federal debt will be 77 percent of America's Gross Domestic Product, our total national economic output. To make matters worse, every single dollar of the stimulus was borrowed, and the Administration has absolutely no plan to pay it back or the interest payments it has spawned.
The end result is predictable.
Instead of continuing to try to put lipstick on a pig, President Obama should follow the examples of Presidents John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Both instituted policies which cut taxes, reduced government interference, and freed small businesses to do what they do best -- expand the economy and create jobs through hard work and perseverance.
It is time for Washington to take a new approach to get this economy moving again, based on doing what works: fiscal discipline and immediate tax relief for working families.
To this end, I cosponsored the Economic Recovery and Middle-Class Tax Relief Act (H.R. 470). This legislation contains numerous short- and long-term tax provisions for individuals and businesses to spur the economy. The bill would immediately assist individuals and businesses by lifting existing tax burdens.
Families would benefit from a five percent across-the-board cut, a child tax credit between $1,000 and $5,000, repealed Alternative Minimum Tax, increased student loan deductions, and tax-free retirement account withdrawals.
Under this alternative proposal, businesses would experience a reduced top corporate tax rate, immediate expense deductions, and a permanent research and development tax credit.
In these tough economic times, Congress must work to promote growth and prevent our economy from backsliding. Taxpayers aren't getting their money's worth from the stimulus, and struggling families and small businesses are rightly dubious of its positive impact. By passing legislation I support, the Economic Recovery and Middle-Class Tax Relief Act, Congress can still do the right thing by focusing on legislation which creates jobs to put our economy back on track the right way.