Auto sales are down. Manufacturers are showing the weakest growth in nearly two years. And there is deep pessimism about the prospects of a recovery anytime soon.
So while some in Washington have sought to paper over our economic problems, or offer weak assurances that a recovery is right around the corner, millions of Americans continue to suffer - with no end in sight. And very few people are confident that things will turn around anytime soon.
It’s no secret why. For two and a half years, Democrats in Washington have paid lip service to the idea of job creation while pursuing an agenda that is radically opposed to it. And the results speak for themselves.
They told us that if we borrowed a trillion dollars and spent it, unemployment wouldn’t rise above 8 percent. Two and a half years later, unemployment is hovering above 9 percent, higher than when the stimulus was signed.
They told us that if we spent trillions on a new health care entitlement we’d see health care costs go down. A year later, health care costs are expected to go up.
They told us that if we spent money we didn’t have on things like cash for clunkers, turtle tunnels, solar panels and windmills — in other words, on more government — the recovery would take care of itself.
And where has it gotten us? Well, last week, a second rating agency threatened that if we don’t get our fiscal house in order in a matter of weeks, America's stellar rating runs a serious risk of being downgraded.
This is uncharted territory.
The warning signs are clear and urgent.
Something must be done.
The first step is to recognize how we got here. That’s the easy part. The government-driven policies of the last two and a half years have clearly been a failure.
The next step is getting Democrats in Washington to admit it. And that’s the hard part. If the last few weeks have shown us anything, it’s that Democrats in Washington are in a deep state of denial.
We’ve seen their approach to all the warnings.
As signs of an economic catastrophe have gathered, Republicans have offered concrete proposals for creating jobs and growing the economy. We’ve offered multiple concrete budget proposals. We’ve offered specific plans for reining in the crushing cost of entitlements — and for preserving them.
Democrats have offered a thirty-second campaign ad of someone pushing a grandmother off a cliff.
As ratings agencies have sent up smoke signals about the catastrophic consequences of a potential default, Republicans have proposed plans that would rein in our deficits and debt and send a clear signal to taxpayers and the world that lawmakers in Washington have the will to live within our means.
Democrats rushed to the White House and demanded that the President raise taxes. These past weeks should have been a wake-up call for Democrats. They sent it through to voicemail. More concerned about an election that’s nearly two years away, Democrats have ignored every warning.
Americans look at all this and ask themselves a simple question: when will these guys get serious?
Every light on the control panel is flashing red. Yet amid all the bad news this past Friday, the president heads out to Toledo to pat himself on the back for an auto bailout that’s expected to cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.
Nearly 14 million Americans are looking for jobs and can’t find them. Yet the president — who acknowledges that free trade agreements will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs — is now suddenly holding them hostage in exchange for even more spending.
American businesses want to expand and hire. Yet the White House is weighing them down with mountains of new regulations and costs, health care mandates, taxes, and conflicting signals about the future.
American energy producers want to tap into our own resources. Yet the administration is blocking them at every turn.
One of our nation’s biggest and proudest manufacturers wants to build a new factory that would employ thousands and solidify its reputation as an industry leader in the world. Yet the administration is standing in the way in order to help their union allies. Since when do businesses have to ask the president’s permission to create jobs?
Most people know that when it comes to politicians, you should pay more attention to what they do than what they say. Never was this truer than when it comes to Democrats in Washington today.
Just consider this: three years ago, my good friend the Majority Leader issued a press release blasting the Bush administration on its approach to unemployment and debt. He called these figures, 'A casualty of the administration’s failed economic policies and a shameful legacy of the policies of the previous eight years.'
At the time, unemployment was 5 percent, the national debt stood at $9.2 trillion.
Today, with unemployment above 9 percent and the debt at more than $14 trillion, Democrats are silent. They have no plan. No proposals. No urgency. They run the White House and the Senate.
And yet their entire approach is to sit back and wait. No budget, no plans; just wait for the next election. Let Republicans offer solutions — and then attack them — and pretend you care about jobs. That’s the game plan.
Here’s the problem:
Unless you’re a political consultant or just standing around waiting for a bailout, their plan won’t do anything to create a single new job. And it won’t do anything to address the crisis we know is coming.
There is no excuse for inaction.
And that’s why Republicans refuse to sit back and wait.
Until these crises are met, until we see more jobs being created, until the American people begin to regain their confidence in this economy, then we’ll be out there — proposing solutions, coming up with answers, making our case.
And we’ll keep at it until our Democrat friends finally start to focus on the battle for America’s future instead of the battle over next year’s election.