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Amid Washington's ongoing debt drama and June's dismal unemployment numbers, in his latest op-ed freshman Senator Rob Portman is challenging his congressional colleagues to get serious about economic recovery, outlining seven 'easy' ideas to boost private sector investment and job growth in America.
From tax reform to pending free trade agreements, here's a look at Senator Portman's common sense solutions for economic stability:
- Energy independence: Washington should adopt a pro-growth national energy policy. Let’s attack our addiction to foreign oil with conviction. The plan must include using less energy through smart conservation and finding more energy by aggressively and responsibly developing our own resources. Washington shouldn’t pick winners and losers, but should remove government barriers that raise costs and threaten jobs.
- Tax reform: Let’s start the process immediately to reform the tax code, something economists across the spectrum agree will create economic growth and jobs. Eliminating preferences and lowering tax rates will enhance our competitiveness, lead to a more efficient allocation of resources and ensure a tax code that’s fair for everyone, not just those who can manipulate it.
- Cut the red tape: Let’s go beyond the rhetoric and enact common-sense cost-benefit analysis that separates the necessary regulations from those that kill jobs without justification, and insist that agencies use the least burdensome alternative.
- Pass pending free trade agreements: With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the United States, giving our workers, farmers and service providers fair access to those markets should be an urgent national priority.
- Reform and modernize our job training programs: Part of the answer is an improved education system that prepares our children for the careers of tomorrow, but Congress can also act immediately to help retrain today’s workers by revamping the $18 billion spent annually on federal training programs. Those already in the workforce deserve better than the bureaucratic complexities and red tape of 44 different federal employment and training programs administered by nine different agencies.
- Reduce costs, add choices and put consumers in charge: Many of us believe this requires repealing the new healthcare law, which will cost trillions of dollars and kill as many as 800,000 jobs. But in the meantime, let’s reduce the costs of healthcare and add jobs by expanding choices and putting consumers in charge, through expanding health savings accounts, allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines and reining in frivolous lawsuits and other medical malpractice costs.
- Cut and cap: Let’s reduce federal spending now and cap the growth of government. Obama was right when he said last week that dealing with our record debt and deficits would give businesses more certainty and lead to job expansion.