Economy & Budget

Senate must continue support for agency that creates jobs

As the U.S. Senate continues to debate the reauthorization of the Economic Development Administration (EDA), critics are taking to the newspapers and airways to urge defeat of the legislation. It is disheartening to see that the agency I helped create more than 45 years ago which has had constant bipartisan support is now under unwarranted partisan attack in an economic environment when the kinds of jobs this agency helps create are needed more than ever.  It’s particularly troubling when only three years ago the Senate passed EDA’s reauthorization unanimously.

The fact is that EDA is the only federal agency with the exclusive mission of creating and retaining American jobs by leveraging private investment in the nation’s economically distressed communities and every dollar that the agency invests leverages another $6.90 in private/public investment to create the economic environment for small business to grow and prosper.


What happened to 'Recovery Summer'?

One year ago today, the Obama administration declared the summer of 2010, “Recovery Summer.” Even as the unemployment rate soared to a staggering 9.8 percent, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner penned an out-of-touch oped entitled, “Welcome to the Recovery.”
With the unemployment rate still hovering above 9 percent a year later, Democrats are finally singing a different tune. President Obama’s former economic advisor Larry Summers this week admitted, “The United States is now halfway to a lost decade.” If the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, maybe – just maybe – Democrats will stop demagoguing the GOP jobs agenda and join us to advance it.


Pawlenty’s really bad answer to USPS woes

The public debate over taxes, government spending and services that is dominating headlines has eclipsed the financial emergency facing the Postal Service – which, ironically, gets no taxpayer funding yet serves every American household and business daily.

Until recently, debate over the Postal Service’s fiscal problems – which Congress caused and can readily fix – has been limited to a small circle. Now, however, one prominent GOP presidential hopeful has proscribed a radical change to the nation’s postal system, the largest, most efficient, least expensive, and most trusted mail service in the world.  


The recession does not result in increased homelessness - yet

Homelessness in the United States stayed level during the height of the recession, according to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR) released this week by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The report shows a one percent increase in overall homelessness from 2009 to 2010. The flat number, in spite of an idling economy, is a testament to improvements in how communities deliver homeless assistance and to the effectiveness of a well-targeted and innovative pool of stimulus funds.


How to protect recipients from benefit cuts

For the past 75 years, Social Security has been a financial safety net for America’s seniors. The average Social Security benefit is only about $15,000 per year, but it is the main source of income for many senior citizens. The promise to current working age Americans is that working hard, paying taxes and contributing to Social Security will ensure the same retirement benefits in the years ahead. But automatic cuts to Social Security benefits are looming unless Congress acts soon.  


We can't create jobs without lifting the weight of regulations

On Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), a small business advocacy group, released their monthly small business optimism index. As expected, the index dropped for the third consecutive month. The report of more than 700 randomly sampled small businesses in NFIB’s membership signaled that our nation’s most robust job creators are struggling as they fight their way through our nation’s sluggish recovery.

NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg summarized the report by saying, “Corporate profits may be at a record high, but businesses on Main Street are still scraping by. Washington is throwing misdirected policies at the problem, offering tax breaks for hiring and equipment investment, but acting surprised when they don’t bear any fruit.”


Look to '94 crime bill to solve budget crisis

The FBI reported that crime took another dip last year. That came as a surprise, because conventional wisdom held that crime rates track the economy: fewer jobs, more crime.

But the decline in the crime rate is not a one year blip. In the last fifteen years, the number of murders in America declined by one-third, assaults by one-fourth, and car thefts by one-half.[i]

Is there a lesson here for the budget debate? Just as the budget is the dominant, intractable, insoluble problem today, so was crime in the 1990s. Just as a major deal on an anti-crime package seemed improbable then, a major deal on the budget seems a pipedream today.


How Mom and Pop can save the economy

The latest unemployment numbers offer little to cheer about and have left many in Washington asking, “What now?” After a stimulus bill, bailouts and reforms, job growth has stagnated and the economy is flat lining. Last month, President Obama turned to American businesses to “step up” and hire more employees. Many agree that American enterprise is the vehicle for economic revitalization, but it is family-owned business that is the engine.

Family-owned businesses across the country have been stepping up for generations. At 5.5 million strong in the United States, family-owned businesses are generating 57 percent of U.S. GDP and collectively employing 63 percent of the workforce. In fact, 75 percent of all new jobs are generated by family businesses.  


'This is the moment. This is the time.'

Speaker of the House John Boehner delivered the following remarks at the Annual John M. Ashbrook Memorial Dinner at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio on June 11.

As most of you know, ‘tonight’ was originally supposed to happen a couple of months ago.

We had to reschedule because I had to be in Washington for the final negotiations on the bill to keep the government running and finish last year’s budget.

I was supposed to be with all of you that Friday night. Instead I spent the day on the phone with President Obama, trying to squeeze another billion dollars in spending cuts out of the most powerful man in the world... a very reluctant one, I might add.


The keys to economic growth

Recent economic data show that U.S. job growth in May was negligible, while the official unemployment figure - at least the figure the Labor Department admits to - rose to 9.1 percent. The real unemployment figure, however, as compiled by economist John Williams, may well be higher than 20 percent. It is clear the U.S. economy is in terrible shape, and that no amount of government spending or Federal Reserve quantitative easing can reduce unemployment, increase real productivity, or address our debt fiasco. U.S. jobs and productivity are dependent on the accumulation of private capital to finance existing businesses or fund new entrepreneurial activity. Private capital - whether accumulated by profitable U.S. businesses, invested by private equity and venture capital firms, or attracted from abroad - is the key to economic growth and new jobs. But we cannot create jobs if we demonize profits, punish risk-taking capitalists, and stay hostile to foreign investment.