President Barack Obama began and ended his speech to Congress earlier this month by correctly identifying Americas unemployment problem as a crisis that deserves urgent action by Congress. After two and a half years, its encouraging that the president finally recognizes the true magnitude of our job shortage. Unfortunately, the presidents proposal was a predictably disappointing iteration of the failed economic prescriptions that he offered in 2009.
When I grew up in Chicago, the daughter of a furniture salesman and a Chicago Public Schools teacher, the American dream was alive and well. We could afford a modest home in a quiet middle-class neighborhood. Back then, a man could work in the steel mills on Chicagos South Side one good union job with family health care benefits and a decent pension and live a middle-class life. The family could own a home, buy a car, send the kids to college.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress about our countrys job crisis. House Republicans are ready and willing to work with the president on common-sense policies to jump-start our economy, and its encouraging to see the president focused on job creation.
Today we face high unemployment and an economy knocked back on its heels. Many economists agree that, left to itself, the economy would take a number of years to work through the fallout from the housing bubble and the financial crisis. Unfortunately, millions of Americans cant afford to wait that long. At the same time, our nation faces a number of other pressing needs.
In August I visited small-business owners and energy producers in my home state of Colorado and got an earful on what Washington can do to help create jobs. The common theme from the job creators whom I met with was simple roll back or eliminate excessive, burdensome and costly government regulations. This would give them the money and confidence to invest in new technology, equipment and employees.
Perhaps now more than ever, the American people are looking to Congress to put in place policies that will create jobs for the American workforce. In addition to infrastructure investments, these policies must include support for the small- and medium-sized businesses a growing list of which are clean-energy companies that represent promising job growth potential.
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.
I believe the habits we form in our youth can either sustain us or sink us as we age. With U.S. teen unemployment at 21 percent overall and 49 percent among African-Americans, I am worried that our young people are getting into the habit of being unemployed.
In August, I held town hall meetings across eastern Kansas. The message I received loud and clear was that Washington will only be able to accomplish the goal of getting Americans back to work if we can work together, stop insisting on poison pills intended to politically damage the other side and find areas on which we can agree.
Anyone disgusted by the way the debt ceiling mess played out and worried about what it means for our future should consider what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on CNBC as the final deal was approved: This is just the first step. ... Whoever the new president is, is probably going to be asking us to raise the debt ceiling again. Then we will go through the process again and see what we can continue to achieve in connection with these debt ceiling requests of presidents to get our financial house in order.