Two years ago today, President Obama signed into law a “stimulus package” that his administration promised would keep unemployment under 8 percent. What has been the result of nearly $1 trillion spent on the so-called “stimulus?” Twenty-one months of unemployment at or above 9 percent, 2.6 million jobs lost, unsustainable budget deficits and an ever-growing national debt.
Americans rejected the Democrats’ reckless tax and spend policies last November. Despite this “shellacking,” Mr. Obama’s proposed budget ignores the will of the American people and reflects a complete lack of seriousness for our fiscal crisis.
Looking at the president’s fiscal 2012 budget, my job may have just gotten a little easier. As the reviews come in, it’s clear the president didn’t live up to his own standards.
Under the president’s spending plan, 2012 will be the fourth consecutive year of running deficits in excess of $1 trillion. As a result of Mr. Obama’s spending spree, the federal debt will soon be equal to the entire U.S. economy.
Instead of showing the leadership this country wants and deserves, the president continues to punt on real fiscal responsibility, making none of the tough decisions to cut spending - at no point in his budget would we spend less than we are taking in, raising taxes by $1.6 trillion and adding $13 trillion in new debt.
We’ve seen this movie before. Spending $814 billion on the stimulus and $2.5 trillion on government-run health care, America tried the Democrats’ model of spending hand-over-fist to jump-start the economy - to no avail.
Last week, the Congressional Budget Office director confirmed that the president’s massive health care spending law will eliminate 800,000 jobs from our economy. In fact, the only jobs that appear to be created by the president’s budget are located at the Internal Revenue Service with 5,000 new agents prepared to enforce the president’s tax hikes.
It is this lack of leadership that encouraged voters to give Republicans a seat at the table as we work to get our country’s fiscal house in order.
The status quo is simply unsustainable. As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke put it, limiting the expansion of government is critical to growing our economy. Getting our deficit in check will instill much-needed confidence for job creators our country depends on to jump-start our economy.
The American people are demanding a change in course. To achieve economic prosperity for future generations, they know that the government must start living within its means - just like millions of families across the country do every day.
We’ve run out of time for warnings; the time to act is now. We have to unite behind leaders who will tax less, spend less and borrow less to get our economy back on track.
As House Speaker John A. Boehner said this weekend, we are broke. It is time for the Democrats to understand that Washington has an addiction to spending. And like all addictions, it will not be cured without dramatic action.
With all due respect, Mr. President, our fiscal situation doesn’t need a scalpel - we need a machete.
Already, House Republicans have set a new tone in Washington by committing to $100 billion in spending cuts - the largest cut in congressional history. Returning spending to pre-stimulus levels for the rest of the current fiscal year is the first step of many to restore fiscal sanity.
And while the president punts on entitlement reform, we are ready to stand with Americans who are serious about tackling real fiscal reform.
We are truly in a fight for freedom in this country, and I am proud of our Republican leaders for stepping up to the plate. Now it is my job to help elect more principled Republicans to join the conversation and help make our country as prosperous as we can be.
Barack Obama sought the presidency seemingly to make the difficult choices and put our nation on solid footing. If he continues to avoid making the tough decisions and instead insists on an agenda of more spending, higher taxes and more debt, the choice facing voters in 2012 won’t be very difficult.
Reince Priebus is chairman of the Republican National Committee.