Weekly Columns

Help Wanted

Senator John Boozman's Column for the Week of June 27, 2011

Jun 27 2011

May marks the 27th consecutive month the Arkansas jobless rate has been above seven percent. Figures released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor show the number of unemployed Arkansans increased by more than 1,200 in the past month.

For more than two years Arkansans and all Americans have been looking to Washington to help create jobs, but Washington has been following President Obama’s approach of spending, borrowing and taxing. It hasn’t worked, but this comes as no surprise. I knew this was the wrong approach and voted against the ‘stimulus’ bill in February of 2009. The idea that spending will trigger jobs is bad policy. All it did was dig a deeper hole in our national debt.

The administration’s latest numbers show this infusion of more than $2.3 billion into Arkansas created only 4,874 jobs. This means we spent $480,000 to create each one of those jobs and the fact is, these are not permanent jobs.

In November, Americans gave a clear sign that job creation needs to be a priority, but little has been done by the Senate Majority to show this is at the top of the agenda.  This is why I went to the Senate floor last week to speak about the importance of allowing Senators to vote on commonsense legislation that creates a business friendly environment and encourages job growth.  Unfortunately, instead of providing real relief for the unemployed, the work of the chamber is slowing to a snail’s pace, with about a third of the time wasted with quorum calls.

Fortunately, there is a plan that will help turn the economy around by encouraging private sector job creation and it involves a wide array of free market ideas. In my speech I outlined legislation of which I am a cosponsor that would allow our job creators to focus on hiring instead of unfunded mandates imposed by job killing legislation.

I am a cosponsor of the REINS Act that serves as a check-and-balance between Congress and the executive branch and taxing rules imposed by its agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is costing businesses money and jobs.

American businesses and workers are top notch but we need to be presented with a level playing field. This is why I cosponsored legislation that urges the Senate to consider and approve the pending trade agreements with Panama, South Korean and Colombia. These agreements would save American businesses millions of dollars and that money would be reinvested into our economy and communities, creating high-paying jobs for many Americans.

I have fought against the President’s health care law and the consequences we face as a result of this flawed legislation. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this legislation will cost 750,000 jobs. It is bad for American families, seniors and businesses, that’s why we voted to eliminate the onerous 1099 reporting requirements included in this flawed legislation. I voted to repeal this law and will continue to fight for meaningful health care reforms based on free market principles.

While these are proposals I highlighted on the Senate Floor, there are several others that encourage innovation and investment and provide certainty to our job creators that deserve an up-or-down vote. Arkansans are asking ‘where are the jobs?’ and there are commonsense proposals we can vote that will show where those jobs are. We can help change the unemployment statistics trend with these ideas. Americans deserve it.