U.S. Rep. Bob Turner is the Congressman serving Forest Hills and the Ninth Congressional District of New York.
As I have made clear from day one, the main reason I got into politics is out of concern for the future of our great nation. As a grandfather of 13 grandchildren, my priority is to improve our economy by helping foster an environment where businesses can create lasting jobs and to address our national debt crisis so that all of our children and grandchildren can prosper in this country.
These are the two fundamental issues that are keeping our economy from getting back on track. No other option will work until these two important factors are addressed. There have been a couple of opportunities missed, but there are still options available to us if we get serious about our situation and commit to taking action.
One critical component to getting our spending under control is requiring the federal government to do what many of you do every month, balance the checkbook. Unfortunately, we missed an opportunity to put that requirement in place when the House was unable to pass the balanced budget amendment, which fell short of the two thirds vote needed to pass. Our national debt crisis is bringing our country to the brink of catastrophe.
We now have a federal debt that has surpassed $15 trillion and rising. We have another potential credit downgrade on the horizon and a growing deficit of consumer confidence. The resolution of a balanced budget to address our government spending problem is paramount. I believe a balanced budget amendment is an important first step to getting our economy back on track and will keep it strong for the long haul. Though we were unable to make the balanced budget amendment a reality during this session of Congress, I plan to continue pushing for it as long as I am in Washington.
Another unfortunate opportunity was lost when the Super Committee was unable to agree on how to cut $1.2 trillion in spending over ten years in order to cut the federal deficit. Our government is currently borrowing 40 cents from other nations for every dollar we spend and there is no end in sight. Some believe that the best way to fix this issue is to increase taxes and ignore the out of control spending that our country is accustomed to.
However, this strategy has taken our deficit to $15 trillion and has kept our unemployment rate above 8% for the last 34 months. It is a short term band-aid for very deep wound in our economy. We must find common sense solutions that increase tax revenue in our country by increasing productivity and creating jobs. We are kidding ourselves by believing raising taxes before cutting our spending or getting Americans back to work will get our country out of the hole. We will be revisiting this issue in Congress over the next several months, and I can assure you I will do all that I can to ensure that our government focuses on scaling back its frivolous spending. We all know that small businesses are unquestionably the economic engine of the U.S. economy.
The start up or small business of today is the Apple or Facebook of tomorrow. The best thing the government can do to grow the economy is to create an environment that allows American businesses and entrepreneurs to create real, lasting jobs for Americans. The House of Representatives has already passed more than twenty five bipartisan bills that focus on cutting regulations and increasing capital for businesses to get started and grow. One such bill was the 3% Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act which waived the 3% withholding imposed on government contractors. This bill keeps money in the pockets of business owners so they can take on more opportunities and create jobs. The 3% Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act is a step in the right direction but there is still much to do.
We must also create an environment that allows start up businesses to acquire capital by more creative means. One bill I voted for that addresses this is H.R. 2930, Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act. This bill will help start-up businesses raise capital by eliminating constraints and provide a crowd funding exemption that will enable them to collect up to $5 million in donations from an unlimited amount of investors. This strategy will allow businesses to acquire capital from other recourses during this time when lending restrictions prevent entrepreneurs from taking out traditional loans. This sort of out-of-the-box approach can be found in other bills still stalled in the Senate.
It is time we acknowledge that quick-fix stimulus spending at tax payer expense only digs America deeper in the hole and kicks the can forward for the next generation. Raising taxes on American’s without addressing our out of control spending or current business environment is not a sustainable plan for growth. Every elected representative who has the pleasure to serve their constituents must start making the tough decisions necessary to better our economy.
A $15 billion dollar deficit and 34 straight months of high unemployment are unacceptable. Unless significant reductions to our federal spending are made and our businesses have the best opportunity to compete and grow, we risk every safety net and will leave future generations with a tremendous burden. We must stop worrying about what is politically advantageous at the moment and start focusing on what is right for our children and our children’s children. We must take action now.