President Obama just witnessed the defeat of his flawed stimulus bill that called for tax hikes to pay for more of the same failed policies that we have seen come out Washington. Even some Senate Democrats expressed the same concerns I have heard from Virginians - the bill is "terrible," "invested far too little in actual job creation" and they can't "support raising taxes so Washington can spend more."
Such a setback should make apparent to the president what Virginia families know: Higher taxes and more government spending do not create jobs. Instead of working to reinvigorate the entrepreneurial spirit of America with the right economic, energy and education policies, the president has chosen to go on a taxpayer-funded bus tour to try to convince Virginians a second stimulus and higher taxes are a solution to our country's problems.
As Mr. Obama makes a few stops in the Commonwealth on his bus tour, I hope he takes time away from his campaign events to listen to Virginians. The people of Virginia are anxious and worried about their families losing their jobs, looming tax increases, high fuel and electricity costs hurting their budgets and the rising health care costs and job impediments due to Obamacare. Here's some advice:
1. Really listen: The president is visiting Virginia at a crucial time in the course of our history. America has had 32 consecutive months of unemployment above 8 percent, 1.5 million people have lost their jobs since the failed $825 billion stimulus and our confidence in the future is down. Incomes have dropped to levels not seen in 15 years. For the first time in the nation's history, our credit rating is down - a further strain on the economy as well as our belief in the American Dream.
Families in Virginia know we are not better off due to the policies of Mr. Obama and former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine during the past nearly three years. As a result, more and more people are becoming pessimistic about the future, concerned that the opportunities to succeed that they had in life won't be around for their children and grandchildren. The president should take a break from his campaign events to really hear this message.
2. Do what works: Rather than recycle failed policies, Mr. Obama and Mr. Kaine, who was also chairman of the Democratic National Committee, need to focus on how to turn our economy around. It is time for America's comeback. It starts with a pro-growth agenda based on our foundational principles of freedom, opportunity for all and personal responsibility rather than mandates, dictates, redistribution and dependency on government. My Blueprint for America's Comeback is a comprehensive pro-growth plan that will once again make America an engine of job creation, break our dependency on foreign sources of energy, and rein in what has become an overreaching, overspending and overregulating government.
In place of the president's failed policies, we need tax, regulatory and education reform that will unshackle America's entrepreneurs and ignite a job-creating boom. Such attitude and actions will that prove America is "open for business" and ready to compete in the World.
If this administration stopped treating Virginia's energy resources as a curse it could positively affect the creation of jobs from the coal fields of Southwest Virginia to our coast. By removing Washington's self-imposed barriers, we have the potential to create more than a million good-paying American jobs, provide more affordable fuel and electricity, improve competitiveness and national security, and keep our money in the United States.
3. Stop the spending: The White House just announced that the federal budget deficit topped $1 trillion for the third year in a row. The president has been in office for three years. In each of those years, the federal government has had record setting trillion-dollar annual deficits. This has never happened before in the 235-year history of our nation, and it is an outrage that endangers our future.
Virginians have had enough. Surveys reflect that Americans rightfully believe more than half of all federal spending is wasted.Like Democrats and Republicans in the Senate who defeated the president's jobs bill, they want wasteful spending to stop. I've long supported a Balanced Budget Amendment, enforceable spending caps and line-item veto authority to ensure that government serves its people. It's time we finally put all of these measures in place because Washington has shown time and time again it needs these crucial restraints.
4. Finally, let Mr. Kaine know: One person in Virginia who doesn't seem to appreciate how damaging the president's policies have been is Mr. Kaine. He cheered the president's failed $825 billion stimulus package, claiming it would "jump-start the economy." He called the president's $1.5 trillion takeover of health care a "monumental accomplishment." And he calls the president's failed tax-and-spend policies a "blueprint for success" - despite the millions who are unemployed.
Our country needs more than taxpayer-funded bus trips and campaign swings. We need a new direction, a fresh start and a rebirth of American greatness.
If the president actually listens and acts to change the downward course of his Washington polices, then his time on the road may just have been worth the cost.
George Allen, a former Virginia governor and senator, is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2012.
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