By Congressman Duncan Hunter
Anyone who has lost a job or regained their footing after being out of work, or watched a friend, neighbor or family member in a similar situation, grasps the difficulty of finding or keeping a job in today’s economy. These are tough times. And even so, millions of people stand ready to rejoin the workforce, consistently elevating the urgency to create quality jobs for them to fill.
At 9 percent, the national unemployment rate is still idling at record levels. San Diego is no better off, just as other economic indicators, including the local housing market, remain flat. All the while, other personal and family expenses keep climbing. Take gas prices, for instance. The rising cost of fuel is eating away at family budgets from the gas pump to the supermarket.
The economy will eventually recover. No doubt about it, though it will take a coordinated approach that focuses on certain foundational strengths that have transformed the American economy into the envy of the world. And harnessing these strengths is near impossible without putting small businesses at the forefront.
Small businesses are the linchpin of the national economy. These entities provide the vast majority of jobs nationwide, create new opportunities and help build communities. Without a functioning small business base, the economy will be slow to gain traction and build the necessary momentum.
What small business owners are quick to say is that there is too much regulation and far too much uncertainty. They are hesitant to invest in new ideas, expand operations or take on new workers. Several states are making it harder for them to do business.
In California, businesses don’t grow anymore. They leave, unless forced to close their doors beforehand.
California needs to revaluate its relationship with the small business community. The same goes for the federal government, which is pushing for more regulation at a time when less is needed. The uncertainty created by the President’s health care law isn’t helping, either. Most businesses still don’t know what the law means for them or how it will impact their bottom line.
Meanwhile, the administration is writing thousands of pages of new health care regulations that will need to be deciphered by teams of lawyers and other experts. This will make things unnecessarily complicated at the risk of losing even more jobs—certainly not the way to turn around a slow-moving economy.
Federal spending also has something to do with recovery. As we spend less and reduce our national debt, the risk of tax increases to businesses and families will decrease along with funding obligations. It’s a simple formulation.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office once again reminded us of America’s daunting fiscal outlook and how the debt contributes to economic performance. It’s all related, they tell us. CBO also confirmed a previous report from the Department of Treasury that the national debt will exceed the size of the national economy by the end of the year.
Americans cannot afford more spending or higher taxes. The only way forward is to cut costs and refrain from harmful tax increases, instead focusing on creating a tax code that is far more equitable and efficient than the one we currently have. And businesses, entrepreneurs and investors need to be reengaged with the right incentives and assurances.
Despite the fact that the administration is proposing new regulations and spending, part of which includes a request to Congress to increase the statutory debt limit for how much the government can borrow to pay its bills, the House of Representatives is making good on its promises. We have voted to cut billions of dollars in spending already, tap domestic energy resources and break down burdensome regulations. In the process, we continue to have our sights set on reforming the real cost-drivers in government and encouraging local job creators to put more people back to work.
Hands down, American workers are the best in the world. The national economy has always been a testament to that fact. With the right approach, sustainable recovery is within reach and the door is wide open for the American economy to come back stronger than ever before.
Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, a Republican, represents District 52. Ramona is among communities in District 52.