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“America is the land of opportunity.  Congress needs to keep it that way by keeping taxes low, making sure regulations are limited and based on common sense, and ensuring Americans have the freedom to make the decisions that are best for themselves and their families.  We must have competent government that spends within its means and is accountable to those who are paying the bills—the taxpayers.”

Economic recovery is stagnant

Many of the economic measures put in place by previous congresses and the Federal Reserve focus on increasing the role of the federal government in business and financing it with taxpayer funds.  The fundamental relationship between government and its citizens has been altered. Although the recession officially ended in 2009, and after almost $800 billion in “stimulus” funding that I voted against, countless regulations, and more far-reaching involvement by the federal government, the federal government is still spending more money than it takes in, and the Federal Reserve still has billions of dollars on its balance sheet. Current unemployment in the United States is 5.6 percent, but the underemployment, long-term unemployed, and labor force participation rates are concerning.  In fact, the labor force participation rate stands at just 62.7 percent - the lowest it has been since 1978.

Rescuing small businesses

While the federal government can encourage economic growth and help those who have lost their jobs, we cannot borrow and spend our way back to prosperity.  Instead, we should first focus on helping small businesses, which create 60 to 80 percent of all new jobs and employ just over half of the country's private sector workforce.  In 2014, Texas employment grew at a 3.7 percent annualized pace, outperforming the nation's 2.2 percent increase.  The most effective way to help our nation’s businesses is to lower or eliminate taxes like the death tax, make health care more affordable, and reduce regulation.

Federal spending spree

Prior to Republicans regaining control of the House following the 2010 midterm elections, the government had been on a spending spree with few results to show for it.  The 2009 stimulus, which I voted against, is a good example.  While President Obama claimed the stimulus bill would create 3.5 million jobs, the employment to population ratio had been essentially flat since 2009. 

There is some discussion by the President and the Democratic leadership about “investing” in our nation’s infrastructure, education, and funding additional government programs to create jobs.  Investing is simply another word for stimulus spending, and I am afraid this second stimulus will be as ineffective as the first.

Since Republicans took over, overall discretionary spending has been reduced by $165 billion  since Fiscal Year 2010, meaning total discretionary spending has decreased for the 5th year in a row.  This has reduced spending to levels lower than under George W. Bush in constant dollars.  While there is certainly much more work to do, this is a good start.     

Deficit and debt are shrinking, but we must do more

Long-term deficits will drive up interest rates for consumers, raise prices of goods and services, and weaken America’s competitiveness and economic security.  When there is a deficit, the government must borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.  This borrowed money constitutes our national debt, which currently stands at just over $18 trillion. 

With the start of the 111th Congress in 2011, federal spending had decreased for two consecutive years – the first time since the end of the Korean War that has happened.  For Fiscal Year 2013, the government was on track to spend approximately $600 billion, which was down from the $1 trillion budget last year.  While there has been a significant decrease in federal spending, the spending cuts have come largely from our nation’s defense.  Going forward, we must reduce the federal budget by cutting spending elsewhere and reforming mandatory spending programs, which account for two thirds of the federal budget.  We must provide for our nation's defense as the world in which we live is not getting any safer and is arguably the most complex and dangerous it has been since the end of World War II.

Growing our economy
Deficit spending that leads to a doubling of the debt is no solution to jump-starting our economy, creating jobs, or running the government.  It is my hope that Democrats and Republicans can come together to bring real fiscal responsibility and do what’s right for families, for small businesses, and for our country’s future.  But, ultimately, it will be you and other hard-working Americans that strengthen the economy and bring our country to prosperity.  Congress needs to make policies that recognize and reward America’s natural entrepreneurship rather than stifling it.

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