Congressman Geoff Davis is the US Representative serving Kentucky's 4th congressional district.
In August 2010, Treasury Department Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote an op-ed for the New York Times titled Welcome to the Recovery. One year later, as the economy teeters on the edge of a double dip recession, Americans are still asking: where are the jobs?
New unemployment data released last week revealed that only 117,000 jobs were created during July, short of the 125,000 new jobs needed every month just to keep up with population growth. The national unemployment rate ticked down to 9.1%, but only because of the number of people who have given up looking for work or otherwise dropped out of the labor market.
To address this problem, President Obama announced last week that he will turn the focus of his administration to jobs. This is the seventh time that he has claimed his administration will make such a pivot to jobs, but the problem is that his policies are not working.
For example, we were told the stimulus bill would create or save 3 million jobs and keep unemployment below eight percent. Since the stimulus bill was signed into law more than two years ago, more than 1.6 million jobs have been lost. Furthermore, the unemployment rate has been at or above eight percent for thirty consecutive months, the longest period since the Great Depression.
The last two and a half years have reinforced that we cannot spend, tax and borrow our way to economic prosperity. And we only need to look at the example of Greece to see where we are heading if we continue to spend money we do not have.
We need a better solution. More government is not the answer. In order to foster a growing and healthy economy, Congress must enact policies that will increase our competitiveness, reward entrepreneurship and ingenuity.
House Republicans are working to reverse course by passing bills to cut spending, and get government out of the way of our economic engines. This will promote investment, encourage entrepreneurship and allow the private sector to grow and create jobs. For these job creating bills to take effect, the Senate must pass them and the President should then sign them into law.
House Republicans passed legislation to repeal the President’s job destroying takeover of health care which would prevent over half a trillion dollars in tax increases and cut hundreds of billions in spending, in addition to easing the burden of PPACA on employers.
The House has directed ten committees to review existing, pending and proposed regulations to identify the effect on jobs and the economy. We also plan to pass the REINS Act, legislation I introduced to require Congressional approval of any new regulations that have a significant impact on the economy.
Affordable energy is critical to job growth. The House has passed four bills that would increase American energy exploration in Alaska and off of our coasts to increase supply and keep prices low. We also passed the Energy Tax Prevention Act to prohibit the EPA from instituting a backdoor cap and trade program through regulation.
We have been calling on the President repeatedly to send Congress the three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. To date, he has not done so. Finalizing these three agreements would create an estimated 250,000 American jobs by opening new markets to our goods and products.
Finally, as Standard and Poor’s downgrading of our credit rating last week confirmed, we need to continue to cut spending, reduce our debt burden and make the tough choices necessary to live within our means. While the House has taken some first steps in the right direction, and successfully changed the conversation in Washington from whether to cut to how much to cut, there is much more to be done.
If the White House and Congressional Democrats are serious about getting America back to work, they should join Republicans to pass these commonsense proposals to get our fiscal house in order and get the government out of the way of job creation. Only then will Americans stop asking, where are the jobs?