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Walberg: Free-Market Policies Will Unleash Job Creation

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo

These are the facts:

• 0 percent employment growth
• 9.1 percent national unemployment rate
• 14 percent unemployment in the city of Jackson, Mich., the heart of the 7th district

I represent a district that has been hard hit by the latest economic turmoil and lack of job growth. In fact, the state of Michigan has been in a one-state recession for years.

Unfortunately, stagnate employment is a road we Michiganders know all too well. We have faced it before. During the late 1980s as much of the rest of the country was flourishing, Michigan was floundering. Our people were out of work.

Then-Gov. John Engler and a conservative state leadership team took the reins of power in the early 1990s, and we embarked on an agenda of tax reduction, welfare reform, regulatory relief and spending cuts to balance the state budget.

After we implemented many of these common-sense free-market policies, we saw the unemployment rate drop from about 9 percent to below 4 percent. Having participated in a recovery due to conservative policymaking once, I know we can do it again this time throughout the country.

Experience tells us that we do not need more overspending or higher taxes to grow jobs. We do not need more regulations or more government control such as the government takeover of health care or the restrictions in domestic energy production.

Instead of these misguided policies, my Republican colleagues and I have put forth a forward-thinking jobs plan. We have proposed and passed efforts to enact tax reform, spending reductions and regulatory relief.

We know government cannot create jobs; instead, we can help support an environment where the private sector can create jobs. Our jobs plan consists of three tenets: regulatory relief, tax reform and spending reductions.

When implemented, our jobs plan will reduce regulatory burdens, which are currently costing small businesses more than $1.75 trillion a year. That equates to $10,000 per employee each year. Our jobs plan requires Congressional approval for any regulation that has a significant effect on the economy or burdens small business.

We must stop allowing unelected bureaucrats to enact job-killing regulations alone. The White House estimated that it would cost $19 billion to $90 billion to implement one proposed rule to further regulate ozone gases, and some estimate that it would cost 3.2 million jobs by 2025. Recently, the White House finally came to its senses by removing this one regulation from consideration. Our jobs plan will instead increase jobs by encouraging domestic energy production and keep energy costs from rising out of control. Halting job-killing regulations needs to become the routine, not the exception.

Our jobs plan will fix the tax code by streamlining and lowering tax rates across the board to encourage private-sector job creation. It will cut unsustainable spending that creates a crushing burden of debt for future generations.

We will pursue a balanced budget amendment so the government will live within its budget means just as millions of Americans and small businesses do every year.

The single parent, the middle-aged skilled laborer and the underemployed college graduate: These are the faces of unemployment. As I speak with citizens throughout south-central Michigan, I am constantly reminded of how the lack of good-paying jobs is affecting them.

I was sent to Washington with a clear mandate: to get government out of the way so that jobs can be created. The House majority is showing leadership to encourage job creation. We need the president and the majority in the Senate to stop standing in the way of our common-sense job-creating reforms because too many people depend on it.

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) is chairman of the Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.

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