Weekly Columns

Jobs Report Shows Need to Change Course

Senator John Boozman's Column for the Week of July 18, 2011

Jul 18 2011

The June jobs report contained some dismal news.  Our national employment rate is on the rise again, increasing to 9.2%, and showing no signs of positive momentum. 

It has been more than two years since the passage of President Obama’s “stimulus” plan.  Unfortunately, this approach of spending, borrowing and taxing hasn’t worked. 

Shortly before the “stimulus” passed Congress, Christina Romer, then-chairwoman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, and Jared Bernstein, the Vice President's top economic adviser, released a report with their predictions about the impact of their plan on the economy.  One of their bolder projections at the time was that with the “stimulus,” our national unemployment rate would peak below 8% in 2009.

Almost two and a half years have gone by and our national unemployment rate has never been lower than 8% since the “stimulus” became law.

When the report was released, the media immediately debated at length what the bad numbers mean in terms of the President’s political future.  That angle of the story misses the most important part: this about more than numbers, more than a report, more than a political talking point—its real people.  14.1 million of them to be exact.  All of whom are looking to Washington for help.

Unfortunately, the President and his allies in Congress have refused to provide the help these Americans need.  The government cannot create jobs, despite this administration’s efforts to prove otherwise, but we can help encourage an environment where the private sector can flourish. 

As a former small business owner, I can attest to the simple fact that all of this uncertainty stifles job creation.  If you don’t know what your health or energy costs are going to be, the last thing you are going to do is go out and hire a bunch of people.  The same law applies to your tax burden.  Or the regulatory red tape that ties your hands.

Job creators need predictability.  They need their regulatory burden reduced.  And they need the federal government to stop crushing them with mandate after mandate.  In order to accomplish this we need to reform our tax code, reduce regulatory burdens imposed by government agencies, increase exports by passing pending free trade agreements and create a new energy policy that allows us to use American resources and make us less dependent on foreign oil.  They are also waiting on Washington to get our fiscal house in order by reining in our spending and restoring the faith of the international markets in our ability to budget responsibly.

What job creators don’t need during a sluggish, jittery economy are tax hikes.  President Obama already made a major economic miscalculation with his “stimulus”, which failed to create jobs and only added to our exploding deficits.  We need not slow job growth even more by raising taxes on job creators.

There is no need for more reports to understand that we need to change course.  It is beyond time that the President and his allies in Congress recognize their policies are making matters worse, not better, for America.  Let’s pursue commonsense ideas that will allow our private sector to flourish and create jobs, not “Big Government” ideas that tie their hands and repress growth.