Economy & Budget

'Stimulus' is not creating jobs (Rep. Michele Bachmann)

If the 2.7 millions jobs that have been lost since the so-called stimulus was signed into the law did not convince you that government spending does not correlate into economic growth, take a look at this story from the Associated Press: Stimulus Cash Doesn't Create Local Jobs:

“A federal spending surge of more than $20 billion for roads and bridges in President Obama's first stimulus has had NO EFFECT on local unemployment rates, raising questions about his argument for billions more to address an ‘urgent need to accelerate job growth.’ An Associated Press analysis of stimulus spending found that it didn't matter if a lot of money was spent on highways or none at all: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless. And the stimulus spending only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, the analysis showed.”

Yet, President Obama wants to pass a second stimulus calling for billions of dollars of more spending. When will the President and Democrat leadership learn that spending money we don’t have isn’t always the remedy to fix whatever problem confronts us? When will they get the hint? Republicans have put forth a better way to give our families the relief they need that will turn our economy around.

Cross-posted to Townhall


Congress is committed to creating jobs on Main Street (Rep. Edolphus Towns)

Across the nation, in our communities and neighborhoods, we are experiencing the effects of the economic downturn. Jobs have vanished at rates not seen since the Great Depression, and many know someone who lost their job as a result of the recession.

The Democratic Congress has been focused on turning around our economy, and acted on our commitment by enacting several measures that have already created or saved more than a million jobs this year. We moved quickly at the beginning of 2009 to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or "Recovery Act," which has helped keep cops on the beat and teachers in classrooms, while making critical investments in green technology and our nation's infrastructure.


Let’s be frank, Mr. Vice President: The stimulus failed (Rep. Tom Price)

Today, the State of Georgia welcomes Vice President Joe Biden for an update on the administration’s so-called stimulus bill. With national unemployment sitting today at 10%, and worse in Georgia, the White House’s credibility on stimulus success is dubious at best. Yet as proper manners would dictate, we owe the Vice President an opportunity to make his case.

President Obama tapped Mr. Biden to oversee the stimulus program because, as he put it, “nobody messes with Joe.”  While that may be so, as the Vice President has been traveling around the nation touting the various spending priorities of the stimulus bill, their alleged benefits have yet to materialize into jobs.  So if the Vice President is visiting to have us believe expanding broadband is how jobs are created or that we can “weatherize” our way back to prosperity, it may be Joe who is messing with Georgia.


Jobs? (Rep. Joe Wilson)

In the past two years, the debt ceiling has been raised four times.  This week, Congress debated raising the debt ceiling by $1.8 trillion.  Congress continues spend, spend, and spend - ultimately passing our debts onto our grandchildren.  I’m pleased that my colleague Congressman Steve Scalise introduced H.R. 4262, the Control America’s Purse-strings to Deliver a Better Tomorrow (CAP the DEBT) Act to put a lid on this irresponsible spending.

Instead of setting spending records, Congress should be considering job creation alternatives. Here are some ideas that we have presented to Speaker Pelosi for consideration:

-- Provide a 5% across the board income tax cut
-- Increase the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $5,000
-- Make the lower 15% rate on Capital Gains and Dividends permanent – this will make our rate competitive with European nations
-- Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax on individuals
-- Make all withdrawals from IRAs Tax-and Penalty-Free
-- Permanently repeal required distributions on retirement accounts
-- Increase by 50% the tax deduction on student loans and the tax deduction on qualified higher education expenses
-- Allow small business to take a tax deduction equal to 20% of their income
-- Make unemployment benefits tax free so that those individuals between jobs can focus on providing for their families
-- To encourage responsible buyers to enter the housing market and stabilize prices, offer a home-buyers credit of $7,500.

I call on my colleagues to work across the aisle to deliver to the American people at least a few of these ideas that will get America’s economy rolling once again. 


All I want for Christmas is reasonable regulation of the financial industry (Rep. Jackie Speier)

Next time you're at the mall, supporting your hometown merchants with holiday purchases, I would like you to consider something. Every store owner must comply with a list of regulations that govern their building, signs, how they treat employees, product safety and the veracity of their advertising.

While no merchant is clamoring for more government intrusion, most would agree that it is reasonable to impose standards to protect consumers from toasters that explode when plugged in or toys that contain toxic chemicals. Yet, over the past decade, similar regulations governing the very largest financial companies have been gutted in favor of a "buyer beware" attitude that rewards Wall Street executives for gambling with other people's money while putting our entire economy in peril. It has been heads we win, tails you lose.

When a local business fails, the damage is bad for the community but it is kept local. As devastating as it is for the merchant, employees and customers, it is unlikely to affect the broader economy in any profound way.


The bailout that never ends (Rep. Lynn Westmoreland)

The $700 billion Wall Street bailout last year proved exceedingly unpopular with regular Americans. Nevertheless, House Democrats, with their tin ears to the ground, are looking to make bailouts the status quo by creating a permanent bailout fund.

The financial regulation bill cooked up by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the “Barney Bill,” offers a smorgasbord of bad policies that will affect every American. The Barney is yet another leg of the Giant Government Takeover of major industries pushed through the House this year. If your appetite for bigger government wasn’t satiated by the Car Takeover (GM and Chrysler), the Energy Takeover (cap and trade) or the Health Care Takeover, Barney has something designed just for you: The Financial System Takeover.

There are many reasons to oppose the financial regulatory overhaul bill on the floor this week, but the major reasons are that it will further tighten credit, allow bureaucrats to chop up U.S. businesses they deem “too big,” cost consumers more and kill jobs.


The Big Question: Should Obama focus on black jobless rate?

Michelle Bernard, president of Independent Women’s Forum: Creating jobs and lowering unemployment for everyone should be the president's top priority .

Today's question:

Should President Barack Obama develop a plan to address unemployment among African-Americans as suggested by some members of the Congressional Black Caucus?

Read today's responses after the jump...


We owe our veterans more job opportunities (Rep. Steve Buyer)

As former chairman, and current ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, one of my highest priorities has been to ensure that veterans have every opportunity to live full and prosperous lives.

This principle includes providing veterans and transitioning service members with benefits and services to succeed in today’s workforce by maximizing their employment opportunities. Sadly, our government appears to be failing in this regard.

Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that more than a million veterans cannot find jobs, and of this demographic, two critical age groups of veterans bear the brunt of the unemployment rate.


Congress' bad record of passing appropriations bills shows need for budget process reform

In the next few days, the House and Senate will engage in their usual end-of-year dance and vote on two massive omnibus appropriations bills to keep the government funded. The bills will help avoid another series of stopgap Continuing Resolutions that have kept the lights on in much of the federal government since October 1—the start of the new fiscal year. Lawmakers, anxious to leave for the year and smelling the proverbial jet fumes, will consider the omnibus bills “must-pass” since they include seven of the “regular” appropriations bills needed to fund everything from veterans’ benefits to railroad safety.

Once again, the much-vaunted “regular order” has been thrown out the window. But in January, members will return to the Capitol and promise that things will be different. The appropriations bills will be finished on time. But will they? The last time Congress was able to complete all of the appropriations bills individually by the start of the new fiscal year was 1994. Republicans love to blame the Democrats for the mess and Democrats take every opportunity to blame the Republicans. But neither party has managed to find a way to make the trains run on time.


The Big Question: How should Congress pay for a jobs package?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer some insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today.

Today's question:

President Obama wants TARP funds for jobs. Now that the president has officially presented a plan what are your thoughts?

John F. McManus, president of The John Birch Society, said:

According to a front page story in the NY Times for Nov. 26, 2008, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury joined in a message that said "they would print as money as needed." Then, on March 9, 2009, another front page story in the NY Times reported that the Fed would "inject $1 trillion more to aid the economy," even noting that the unconstitutional national bank would be "creating vast new sums of money out of thin air." This is where the money is coming from. When injected into the economy, via TARP spending or jobs spending or whatever, these funds take on value by lessening the value of everyone's dollars.  This is inflation pure and simple. It should be described as outright thievery, a sinister form of taxation that too few understand.  If not stopped, the American people will lose both their wealth and their freedom. Check out what happened in Germany in 1923 to understand this treacherous process. 

Bill Press, host of the Bill Press Show, said:

President Obama's on the right track with his speech at Brookings. There's no more important issue facing America than jobs. And there's no better source of funds to tap than leftover or returned TARP funds. Wall Street doesn't need 'em anymore, but Main Street can use 'em to create new jobs. Looks like it won't be a "jobless recovery," after all.

Hal Lewis, professor at U.C. Santa Barbara, said:

He’s Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. If someone else will supply it, he is happy to give it away to potential voters.

(Read responses from earlier after the jump)