Weekly Columns

The Year Ahead of Us

Jan 11 2012

As we begin 2012, millions of Americans have resolved to change their lives for the better.  For some, the focus is on health and they pledge to eat healthier and exercise more often.  Others will focus on finances and plan to spend less money and save more.  Personally, I intend to focus on my health and spirituality this year.

New Year’s resolutions are a good tradition as they push us as individuals to make positive changes to the way we live.  Regardless of what an individual’s resolution ends up being, the process starts with assessing challenges.  That process is no different for legislators looking to tackle the issues facing our nation.

As we begin 2012, the challenge at the top of our list is a familiar one.  Our country continues to face record unemployment levels and a stagnant economy that is not creating jobs quickly.  This doesn’t need to be the case.  We should not have to continually revisit this issue, but we do, largely because President Obama has pushed an agenda that exasperates the problem instead of fixing it. 

Aided by his allies in the Senate, President Obama spent the better part of last year blocking responsible initiatives my colleagues and I offered to strengthen the economy and create more jobs in the private sector.  He stood in the way of commonsense responses to the crisis, while pushing an agenda of excessive spending and heavy-handed regulation that strangles our job creators.

We cannot spend our way out of this crisis.  Government spending only creates temporary jobs at best.  When the money runs out, the jobs disappear.  What we can do, however, is create an environment that is conducive to job creation in the private sector.  That can be accomplished by reforming the tax code, abolishing burdensome regulations, eliminating wasteful spending, promoting new markets for American exporters and reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy. 

This is the right approach to long-term economic recovery.  Job creation cannot happen in an environment of uncertainty, which is exactly what the Obama Administration’s policies of excessive spending and overregulation have created.  If we combine a broad range of market-based solutions, we will help turn the economy around by encouraging private sector job creation and economic growth.

We tried it President Obama’s way.  Our nation’s unemployment rate is still unacceptably high, even as we approach the three year anniversary of his “stimulus” bill becoming law. The administration predicted the “stimulus” would keep unemployment below 8 percent. Unfortunately, it fell far past that.

American private sector job creation is needed and I am committed to supporting legislation that will help Arkansas businesses succeed.  Let’s resolve to take the commonsense approach to our jobs crisis this year.