At a hearing in March, I asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner whether the U.S. was at risk of losing our AAA credit rating, as a Moody’s quarterly report had indicated. He point-blank responded that there is “not a chance” that this would happen to our country. I wish I could share his confidence, but given how things have unraveled in the past few months, I believe that America needs to take a step back and seriously re-evaluate the way the government does business these days.
Economy & Budget
I share the concerns that many Americans have about our country’s financial future. With our debt at more than $13 trillion, and growing, there is a legitimate concern about how we begin to correct our economic course. As a Blue Dog Democrat, I have always taken tackling our debt very seriously.
Congress is seriously considering raising taxes on real estate at the exact moment that real estate is headed toward recovery. Now is not the time to hit real estate because it is so important to the economy, jobs and the banking system.
In a desperate search of revenue to pay for new government spending, the House last week passed an “Extender Package” that included a “carried interest” provision that would more than double the tax rate on a broad range of commercial and multi-family real estate owners of all sizes and property types.
If you walk into an Apple store in the United States you can walk out with a brand new iPod for around $212. If you purchase from the same retailer in England, you can expect to pay the equivalent of $230. Why the difference? Much of this disparity is because of a value-added tax paid on manufactured products in Britain.
Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) in a letter, urged President Barack Obama to invest in the nation’s small businesses to grow the economy and create new private sector jobs on June 4, 2010. Senator Snowe has introduced legislation, S. 3103, the Small Business Job Creation Act of 2010, that includes vital provisions to help small businesses create new jobs.
This is the text of the letter:
Dear Mr. President,
News that the unemployment rate dropped from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent, while a step in the right direction, provides little reassurance to the 15 million Americans still searching for work. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted in its Employment Situation Summary, “Private-sector employment changed little,” adding just 41,000 jobs in the month of May. Meanwhile, of last month’s 431,000 new jobs, 411,000 represent temporary census takers, whose employment will end within the next several months and who will then be placed back into the untenable and uncertain job market.
Positive job growth in May is an encouraging sign, but it is disappointing that nearly all of those gains are temporary, taxpayer-funded government jobs through the U.S. Census. Stagnant private sector job growth is clearly cause for concern and evidence of the struggles small businesses continue to face. A jobless recovery is not what the American people were promised.
While the majority of jobs created in May were due to Census hiring, it is an encouraging sign for our economic recovery that the private sector created jobs as well. May was the fifth straight month of job growth, a significant turnaround for an economy that was shedding an average of nearly 800,000 jobs per month at the end of the Bush Administration. In addition, the number of full-time workers increased for the fourth month in a row, while fewer Americans were working part-time for economic reasons.