I share the concern of Idahoans that unemployment has remained high for years now and continues to have a devastating effect on our economy. We can’t expect to get our economy growing again until more people are able to find work, and I continue to be frustrated by job creation proposals that only offer small, temporary solutions. These kinds of solutions have continually failed over the past few years and have only left our children and grandchildren deeper in debt.
As I talk to farmers, ranchers, and businesses throughout Idaho about the economic challenges they face, the common theme I hear is that tax and regulatory uncertainty has forced them to hunker down and wait out the economic storm rather than investing in their businesses and creating new jobs. In order to put the American people back to work and get our economy going again, we need to provide the long-term stability that job creators need.
I believe there are three important steps we must take to do this. First, it is imperative that we fundamentally reform entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security. We can no longer afford to look the other way on this issue or pass the buck to the next generation—we must take the steps necessary to ensure that these crucial programs continue to provide a safety net to those in need and security to those who depend on them in their daily lives. If we fail to do this, not only will those currently paying into the system see no benefit from their investment, but the programs will bankrupt our economy and collapse under their own weight.
Second, fundamental tax reform must be a critical component of any plan to address our nation’s debt crisis once and for all. Much has been made of the debate between Democrats and Republicans about whether or not to raise taxes in order to bring the budget into balance, but I believe that the problem goes much deeper than that. I cannot support tax increases that would simply allow Congress to avoid the difficult decisions that we need to make in order to balance the budget and reduce unsustainable government growth. At the same time, I believe there are fundamental changes that we could make to our tax code that would promote economic growth and empower families in Idaho to make the decisions that they believe are best for their family, all while improving our ability to reduce the deficit. The tax code should be a simple system intended to raise the necessary revenue for appropriate government functions, not a complex system directing social behavior.
Finally, and I believe most importantly, we must put an end to the Obama Administration’s regulatory agenda. Unfortunately, agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency are the wet blanket that is preventing businesses small and large from investing in job creation. It is imperative that we create certainty in the marketplace and assure businesses that it is safe to start hiring people without the threat of agencies like the EPA—who claim to know what is best for the American people—imposing costly regulations that are unreasonable and unnecessary.
As Congress debates sweeping economic recovery policies in Washington, DC, I know that Idaho families are in the trenches, facing difficult financial decisions and trying to do the best they can for their families in the midst of serious economic challenges. Hearing from those I represent about how the economy is impacting them and how the legislation under consideration in Congress would affect them is important and helpful to me. I will continue working to support policies that help struggling homeowners, create jobs, and encourage real, sustainable economic growth.