Shrinking the role of government is needed to get the economy back on track
Congress is gearing up to spend over $2 trillion on what is being labeled as a “transformative agenda to provide for the American people.” In reality, Speaker Pelosi and President Biden are planning a radical expansion of our government, and to raise your taxes to pay for their social spending plans. They maintain their proposal will promote strong economic growth, create jobs, and cost $0. However, every American knows this proposal will cost the government trillions of dollars and increase already rising prices.
Simply spending taxpayer dollars will not generate the type of economic growth we need right now. In fact, creating new government programs will inevitably lead to more individuals staying at home on the sidelines. Our government’s policy and fiscal actions must focus on expanding access to capital, providing flexibility for investment, and allowing small businesses to address the unique needs of their workers and communities. Better targeting government assistance, instead of bluntly expanding its size and scope, will unleash the power of American innovation, ingenuity, and markets to create jobs and an inclusive economic recovery.
Policies to grow the economy, like tax reform, encouraged investment in our workforce and created record wage and job growth. In 2018 and 2019, we saw record growth in wages for women, Blacks, and Hispanics. Right now, we are watching rising prices outpace wage growth for workers and seeing labor force participation stagnate with businesses unable to fill vacancies.
The $1.9 trillion in so-called COVID-19 relief passed earlier this year was a direct cause of this. Yet we are still watching Congress debate the need to pass another massive spending bill that, unlike previous packages, is explicitly intended to expand government permanently.
One lesson learned from the pandemic was that public-private partnerships can be successful in lifting communities. We saw communities work together to support American workers and businesses. By promoting pro-growth policies and building upon existing relationships, we were able to help businesses keep their doors open and pay their workers, through approaches like the Paycheck Protection Program. These solutions should not be ignored.
We are already seeing businesses examining new ways to meet the needs of a modern workforce and a shift in consumer choices. These same businesses benefit from the necessary flexibility to expand and participate more in the economy. But burdensome regulations have restricted our ability to provide support to small businesses. It is imperative that we are focusing on regulatory reform that will provide flexibility to invest in our communities. Welcoming technology and innovation, instead of hindering progress, supports the changing dynamics of our communities.
Republicans are eager to promote policies to meet the needs of our economy and help workers to return to work. Businesses have found it hard to rebuild in the aftermath of the pandemic. Many of our communities are still struggling to hire workers and are being hit by supply shortages.
Unfortunately, policies coming out of Washington are working to make permanent the emergency measures that were necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic without regard for the long-term economic impacts. Expanding government won’t solve the underlying issues creating the economic distortions we are currently experiencing, and it could even exacerbate them.
Endless increases to our deficit will not help return us to the greatest economy of our lifetimes, which we had before the pandemic. We must return some sanity to Washington, which starts with getting our fiscal house in order and right sizing the role of government.
Republicans on the Jobs and Economy Task Force are ready to tackle these challenges and are eager to pass policies that will bring back the record-breaking economy we saw not too long ago.
Bryan Steil represents Wisconsin’s 1st District and is a member of the Jobs and Economy Task Force.
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