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Rep. Griffin Op/Ed: Solutions to our economy are not along the edges

December 29, 2011

My top priority is fighting for policies that encourage private sector job creation in Arkansas, and the over 900 votes I’ve cast this year reflect that focus. I have hosted over 25 town halls as well as a “Jobs Conference” that brought together Arkansas job creators to discuss the challenges they face. Their message is crystal clear: Uncertainty kills job creation by discouraging risk taking and investment. What’s causing this confidence-crushing uncertainty? (1) Our overly-complicated tax code; (2) Government overregulation of job creators; and (3) A ballooning national debt. The U.S. House of Representatives has enacted its jobs plan by passing bills to reduce uncertainty, but these bills are stacking up like cord wood in the Senate. The House has led. President Obama and the Senate should join us.
President Obama talks about closing loopholes, but months ago the House acted. We are fighting for comprehensive tax reform to close loopholes, and consolidate and reduce rates for Arkansans and job creators to make the tax code simpler, fairer, and flatter. We need tax reform to grow the economy and create jobs. The House has led by including sweeping, bold tax reform in its budget in April. The President and Senate should join us.
The President talks about regulatory reform, but it’s just talk. Reasonable regulation is necessary, but the Obama Administration continues to overregulate job creators. The House has acted by pushing for common-sense regulatory reform. For example, I introduced H.R. 3194, the Job Creation and Regulatory Freeze Act, which would put a moratorium on all new major federal regulations until January 20, 2013 and give job creators the certainty they need to begin creating jobs again. The House is pushing to put some reason into regulation. The President and Senate should join us.
The House passed a budget in April that reduces spending and eliminates the deficit. The President’s budget spends us to bankruptcy, and the Senate has not passed a budget since April 29, 2009. We must pay down our debt and stop using China as a credit card. $200 billion a year in interest payments is money that could have been spent on critical needs such as infrastructure and cancer research. The House has led to address our debt. The Senate and the President should join us.
We can’t deal with our debt and deficit spending unless we deal with “autopilot” spending—over 60 percent of the budget and growing—primarily composed of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. For example, on average, a couple pays $109,000 into Medicare during their lifetime and gets $343,000 back in benefits. You can do the math: With 10,000 Baby Boomers becoming eligible for Medicare every day, it will go bankrupt in nine years.
My mother is on Medicare, and I understand the concerns folks have about reforming it. I want to ensure care for our seniors by maintaining Medicare for those currently on it and preserving it for future generations.
The House Budget saves and modernizes Medicare by allowing future beneficiaries--those currently 54 and younger--the ability to pick plans like those members of Congress and federal employees have. If you're 55 and over, there would be no changes—none—to your Medicare benefits. Our plan is based on a Democrat idea proposed by the co-chair of President Clinton’s Medicare commission, former Democrat Senator John Breaux of Louisiana. Senator Breaux has made clear that premium support “is not a voucher program.” On average, this modernization would give beneficiaries a premium support payment equal to 100 percent of the cost of the Medicare benefit and provide additional assistance for lower income seniors. The House is fighting to save Medicare. The President and Senate should join us.
What’s the President’s plan for the economy? Spend hundreds of billions more dollars, full speed ahead toward bankruptcy. The President has tried record spending for three years with little to show for it: the unemployment rate has gone up since his “stimulus” was passed and paid for entirely with borrowed money, much of it from China. And each job “created” cost taxpayers $300,000. More spending won’t work. The House is fighting for fiscal sanity. The President and the Senate should join us.
America can rise to meet the great economic challenge facing us. But tinkering around the edges won’t do. We need big, bold solutions to get our economy back on track. As I tell my colleagues, go bold or go home.

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