A seven-point plan proposed by Senate Republicans will spark economic recovery in the United States, reduce unemployment rates, and help tighten the gap between wealthy and poor people, Sen. Rob Portman says in this week’s GOP address.
The Jobs for America Plan, the Ohio Republican said Saturday, “starts by getting government out of the way where we need to, whether it’s healthcare, regulations, or taxation.”
Experts said five years ago the recession had ended, but for millions of people, the nation’s economic downturn has continued.
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“We’re living through the weakest economic recovery since World War II, and a lot of folks are struggling to make ends meet,” said Portman. “Unemployment remains stubbornly high; the number of long-term unemployed is actually at record levels.”
“The wealthy are doing just fine in the Obama economy,” said Portman. But declining paychecks and with rising costs of healthcare, college education and even a tank of gas, “this middle class squeeze is strangling the American Dream.”
He pointed out out that 11 million Americans have given up looking for work altogether, and the average family is “now bringing home $4,000 less than they did just five years ago.
The Obama administration’s policies aren’t working, said Portman, because “Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress believed we could spend our way to prosperity, and I guess they still do.”
But despite some saying that “fewer people working, smaller middle-class paychecks, bigger government, never-ending deficits and record debt piled on our kids and grandkids” is the “new normal,” Portman said it’s time to trust the American people again.
“That’s what’s at the heart of Jobs for America, a seven-point plan put forward by Senate Republicans to bring back opportunity, spark an economic recovery and restore to every American a shot at the American Dream,” said Portman. “It starts by getting government out of the way where we need to, whether it’s healthcare, regulations, or taxation.
For example, said Portman, it’s clear to “just about everybody, maybe except the president” that Obamacare isn’t working.
“Let’s replace Obamacare with reforms that put you back in charge of your own healthcare,” said Portman. “Decisions about your health should be between you and your doctor, not a bureaucrat and an insurance company. Let’s expand choice, rather than limiting it. Let’s create jobs, instead of destroying them. And let’s bring down the costs instead of driving them up.”
Bureaucracy and red tape are also hindering businesses and making it harder for them to create jobs, and Portman said Republicans have “proposed changes that will ensure that the benefits of regulations are worth the cost – that regulations do their job, without costing you yours.”
The nation’s tax code is also a problem, said Portman. It’s not just that it’s a “complex and expensive mess” that needs to be simplified, but also that “our out-of-date and inefficient corporate tax code is driving opportunity and investment overseas, creating jobs in other places that should be right here in America. Let’s fix the code so that every company pays its fair share while bringing those dollars back to our shores to expand plant, equipment, and jobs.”
Taxes should also be spent wisely, said Portman, and lawmakers need to “pass a balanced budget amendment to rein in the runaway, big government spending that drives our deficits.”
The United States also needs to expand overseas markets, said Portman. There are some trade agreements on hold for now, but the nation needs to be sure it is competing on a level playing field. This calls for giving the president the authority to open more markets for farmers and workers.
“We want to see people around the world buying products that are stamped, ‘Made in America,’ so we can create more jobs right here at home,” said Portman.
Jobs can also be created by making the “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that is often discussed come through.
“We should wage a war on inefficiency, but not a war on coal,” said Portman. “We should expand all forms of American energy, including through offshore drilling and developing our shale natural gas. And let’s finally approve the Keystone Pipeline to create jobs and speed the day when North America will truly be energy independent.”
Portman also said Americans should be able to acquire the skills they need to get jobs that are available.
“The federal government now runs 47 different, often overlapping, workforce-training programs, but they aren’t closing the skills gap,” said Portman, because they have too much bureaucracy.
“America’s best days can be ahead of us, just beyond the next horizon,” said Portman. “We just have to reapply some of the principles that have made America that beacon of hope and opportunity for the rest of the world.”
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By Sandy Fitzgerald