By John Boehner
Friday, December 11, 2009; A29
During a meeting at the White House this week, House Republican leaders presented President Obama with a plan to create jobs and get our economy moving again. It is a responsible blueprint for action based on common-sense solutions that recognize that small business, not government, is the engine of job creation in America.
Republicans took the opportunity to question the impact of the president's proposals to raise taxes on small businesses and expand government at a time of double-digit unemployment. Unfortunately, instead of addressing our concerns, the president said that Republicans are primarily interested in unemployment because of the 2010 midterm elections, and that we seem to be almost rooting against recovery. I told the president very directly that everyone -- Republicans and Democrats -- wants to get people back to work.
The president also accused Republicans of "scaring" the American people, but the truth is that double-digit unemployment is scaring people and his job-killing agenda is making it worse.
American families and small businesses face daunting economic challenges. Instead of receiving relief from Washington, they have watched with anxiety this year as the government has focused on implementing a takeover of health care, a "cap-and-trade" national energy tax, "card check" legislation for union membership and more tax increases.
I used to run a small business. I know what it takes to meet a payroll and a bottom line. Employers will continue to hold off on hiring as long as Washington pursues these job-killing policies and piles more debt on our children and grandchildren.
What are the president's new ideas for job creation? This week he outlined even more federal spending on programs that haven't worked to keep unemployment below 8 percent as they promised. He didn't call it another "stimulus" program, but that's what it is -- more Washington spending that expands government but does little to create jobs.
That's why Republicans have offered common-sense solutions to break down barriers to economic growth and help small businesses create jobs, starting with a recovery plan focused on encouraging investment and allowing families and small businesses to keep more of what they earn. Instead of the national energy tax, Republicans would implement an "all of the above" strategy to create jobs, lower energy prices and clean up our environment.
In contrast to Democrats' government-focused approach on health care, Republicans have proposed the only plan that would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, lower premiums by as much as 10 percent, cut the deficit and consistently reduce federal spending on health care over the next two decades.
The most recent employment report provides a glimmer of hope for our economy. Any decrease in the unemployment rate is encouraging, but a "jobless recovery" and double-digit unemployment are not what the American people were promised. Democrats' job-killing agenda is making matters worse. Americans are asking where the jobs are, but all they are getting from Washington is more spending, more debt and more policies that hurt small businesses.
Republicans believe it is important to pursue policies that help expand the economy and support job creation without additional government spending, new bureaucracies or debt that will be left to future generations. Moody's Investors Service has indicated that should we fail to address the growing national debt, the U.S. credit rating could be downgraded.
When the president said this week that we need to "spend our way out of this recession," he made clear that he is not willing to admit the $787 billion "stimulus" isn't working. A bunker mentality won't put people back to work. Mr. President, it's not the GOP that's scaring people -- it's your job-killing policies.
The writer, a Republican congressman from Ohio, is House minority leader.