Hultgren: President's Speech Was Eloquent, Lacks Details
On Thursday, I chose to attend President Barack Obama’s speech to Congress. I did so not because I expected to hear him present any bold new ideas, but because I felt that it was my constitutional responsibility to do so.
What I heard was what I have come to expect from President Obama: eloquent rhetoric but few details. Overall, I was disappointed. His proposals struck me as more scattered stimulus spending - which has been tried in the past without success - at a time when we should be husbanding our constituents’ hard-earned tax dollars and ensuring that they are spent as wisely as possible.
I do believe there is potential for some common ground. For example, I agree that we should immediately pass the pending free trade agreements; we also owe our veterans good, private sector jobs waiting for them when they return home.
I also agree with President Obama that our tax code is in need of reform, a process that House Republicans started with our budget proposal in April. However, it is the wrong time to raise taxes.
I was also deeply dismayed by a straw man argument that the President made regarding regulations; he implied that some in Congress support the abolition of all regulations. Nothing could be further from the truth. But government has truly overstepped its bounds when a disgruntled former employee can file faulty complaints against a local business in retribution for being fired, prompting an investigation by an unaccountable Washington bureaucracy. In this example, the bureaucracy found nothing of the complaints, but happened to come across an empty, misplaced pallet and immediately fined the business $1,000.
I am proud of the House Republicans’ pro-growth agenda to ensure that regulations are reasonable and balanced, and that American entrepreneurs are not overwhelmed by an ever-growing avalanche of Washington red tape.
But the greatest flaw in the President’s proposals was that he urged Congress to spend even more money today - as we borrow 40 cents of every dollar and pile mountains of debt on the backs of our children and grandchildren - in exchange for the promise of future spending cuts. These are the typical Washington smoke and mirrors that have helped get us into the current fiscal mess, and more of the same is not the solution.
History shows us that spending our way to a full economic recovery simply won't happen. Just three years ago we were promised that unemployment would never rise above 8 percent if Congress would pass the $830 billion stimulus bill, and then they were urged to approve multiple bail-outs, cash for clunkers and a government take-over of our health care system. Yet here we are, 31 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent and our economy continues to stagger.
I thank the President for the measures he recommended to us, but it's time to learn from the mistakes of the past. More spending and higher taxes will do nothing to put our economy on the road to recovery.