”God gave us this great and good land, but it’s up to us to make it flourish - to preserve its freedom, to see it grow and become a nation of greatness.”
Ronald Reagan expressed these words of responsibility in 1986. Twenty-five years later, how is our nation doing?
Not well at all, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO just released its latest Budget and Economic Outlook, and the picture it paints is very different from the one President Reagan envisioned. Instead of economic growth, our nation is burdened by government growth - with an adverse impact that millions of American families and working people know only too well.
Job numbers are down, the stock market is down, economic outlook is down, and confidence in the future is down. And for the first time in American history, our nation’s credit rating is down - an unprecedented development that further strains our economy and confidence in the future.
No wonder the CBO warns that America is facing “profound budgetary and economic challenges.”
Meanwhile, the federal government and its burden on our economy continue to grow. Since 2009, federal spending has jumped more than 30 percent, the nation’s debt has risen from $10 trillion to nearly $15 trillion, the cost of complying with Washington’s slew of regulations has reached nearly $2 trillion per year, and the nation’s unemployment rate has risen to and remained above 8 percent for a record 30 straight months.
That’s not the growth Reagan had in mind, and it certainly isn’t the recipe for greatness for Americans.
I am advocating and persuading people to support my Blueprint for America’s Comeback. It is a pro-growth plan of action that will make our nation once again an engine of job creation, unleash our plentiful energy resources and rein in what has become an overreaching, overspending government. Here are three common-sense, proven solutions and reforms to help America soar.
1. We must grow jobs in America. Let’s send a message to the world: America is open for business again. America’s job-creating businesses are burdened by one of the world’s highest tax rates at 35 percent. Reducing the tax on job creators to a competitively advantageous 20 percent would create 500,000 new jobs per year. Beyond that, we need to rein in the unaccountable, unelected bureaucracies that are imposing job-strangling regulations, make the tax code fairer and simpler, and work with the states to achieve world-class education that will make good-paying jobs a reality for millions of Americans. We must be the world capital of innovation.
2. We must unleash America’s energy and creativity. The world’s most plentiful resources are right here in America, but they’re kept out of reach by counterproductive, punitive energy policies that raise our energy costs, slow our economy and make our nation vulnerable to outside forces. Unleashing American energy will put us on a path toward energy freedom, help create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, increase our supply of affordable energy and keep our money here in the United States.
3. We must ensure that government serves the people and not the other way around. As recent events have made abundantly clear, taking control of our financial destiny is an urgent priority. A balanced-budget amendment, line-item veto, enforceable spending caps and other long-overdue reforms will force Washington - finally - to serve the people and operate with fiscal discipline.
I have heard from people who feel that the opportunity to achieve the American dream is slipping away. After all, many families are worried they’ll never achieve the American dream, and a recent poll found that 2 out of 3 Americans no longer feel hopeful about our nation’s future.
But the foundation of our future is the same American spirit that fueled our extraordinary past - the entrepreneurial spirit.
By reinvigorating our spirit of enterprise, America can once again be a country where our future is limited only by our imagination, hard work and ingenuity. To get there, we need a government that focuses not on redistribution but on rejuvenation - of American jobs, competitiveness and opportunity for all.
The need to grow America’s economy - and not its government - remains a mystery to many in Washington and some right here in Virginia. My opponent in the Virginia race for the U.S. Senate, former Gov. Tim Kaine, for example, continues to call for $1 trillion in tax increases despite continuing high unemployment and proof that taxes crush job growth. I suppose that’s not surprising - after all, he pushed for $4 billion in higher taxes, and Virginians lost 100,000 jobs when he was governor of Virginia. He’s even called the president’s budget a “blueprint for success.”
Fortunately, Americans throughout our “great and good land” know better. Job growth - and not government growth - is America’s tried-and-true blueprint for success and prosperity.
George Allen, a former Virginia governor and senator, is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2012.