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It’s Time for a New Approach

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The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
October 21, 2011 | 1,878 views | 2 comments

Americans are aware that there is a fundamental divide in Washington, D.C. over how to revive our lagging economy.

Thirty-one months ago, the President signed into law a nearly $1 trillion dollar economic stimulus package. Republicans opposed the bill because it increased the deficit; it was a short-term patch, assembled in secret, and favored certain groups. Today, there are 1.7 million fewer jobs than when the bill was signed. Unemployment remains above 9 percent.

Nevertheless, the President has spent more than a month now campaigning on a second stimulus bill, hastily developed, that would raise taxes permanently, would increase spending, and, again, is targeted at a few select groups. He has urged Republicans to offer an alternative, rather than just criticizing his plan.

It’s clearly time for a new approach. That’s why last week I joined a group of Senators in rolling out the Senate Republican jobs plan. It offers reasoned guidelines to lower spending, reform our tax code, curb over-regulation, encourage domestic energy exploration, and implement common sense health care policies -- serious plans for long-term growth and fiscal accountability.

Here are the five pillars of our plan:

Restore fiscal accountability

Washington should be forced to do what an American family must do every day: live within its means. Specifically, by requiring a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution and placing a statutory limit on spending, we can ensure Congress makes the difficult but necessary decisions about the nation’s spending priorities. Additionally, immediate spending cuts are needed to substantially reduce deficits. Freezing record-high spending levels, as the President has suggested in the past, will not put the nation on a sustainable path, nor will it restore the consumer and business confidence needed to get our economy growing again.

Reform the tax code

This is vital to spurring economic growth and can be done by making the tax code flatter, fairer and simpler. Simplifying and reducing business and individual tax rates will encourage businesses to invest and grow. Our plan would make the research and development tax credit permanent. This would spur innovation and provide certainty in a way that the temporary credit currently does not. In addition, we would make the small business tax incentive permanent, and reduce taxes on capital gains and dividends, steps which are critical to economic growth and innovation.

Cut regulation

We must unburden the economy from costly, job-killing regulations. Currently, businesses are forced to spend an inordinate amount of time and financial resources complying with cumbersome rules and regulations imposed by the federal government. This is time and money that businesses could spend on developing new products and services, growing their markets, and creating jobs. One proposal contained in our plan, known as the REINS Act, would require congressional approval on any proposed federal regulation that would impose more than a $100 million cost on the U.S. economy.

Our plan will also prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from over-regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. If Congress does not act to stop the EPA, trillions of dollars will be extracted from our economy, and more than 1 million jobs eliminated.

Encourage domestic energy exploration

Increasing access to reliable, affordable and cleaner domestic energy is vital to our economic recovery as well as our national security. We can do this by lifting the flat prohibition on developing resources in the outer continental shelf and allowing access for exploration of energy resources on federal lands.

While the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico may have been officially lifted a year ago, there continues to be a steep decline in the number of permits approved by the administration, creating a de-facto moratorium. In addition, the administration has failed to restore the time leaseholders lost during the moratorium. This policy has forced hundreds of rigs to sit idle, and thus far 11 rigs have left the Gulf to drill for oil overseas -- taking their jobs and tax revenue with them. Offshore energy producers are vital to America's economic growth and energy security, and our national energy policies need to start reflecting that reality.

Common sense health care

It is becoming clear that the Obama health care law will cause costs to explode -- for businesses and workers that rely on job-based coverage, and for state governments that are on the hook for implementing the new law. It will not bend the cost curve downward, nor will it improve health care quality and safety. The health care law must be repealed. However, repealing this ill-conceived law is not enough. Health insurance premiums are projected to continue to rise faster than inflation. Congress needs to enact meaningful medical malpractice reform, allow purchases of insurance across state lines, provide additional risk pools for small business, and strengthen health savings accounts.

The divide in Washington, D.C. is clear: on the one hand, as exemplified by the first and second stimulus bills, the administration offers ill-considered, temporary patches that favor a select group of Americans. On the other hand, as outlined above, Republicans offer thoughtful consistent policies that will support sustained growth for the nation as a whole.

Americans see a struggling economy and know where short-term thinking has gotten us. It’s time for a new approach.

Kay Bailey Hutchison is the senior U.S. Senator from Texas
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Your Opinions and Comments

Rock'n chair Rambler  
Over Taxed, TX  
October 22, 2011 7:35am
"Reform the tax code" Oh right. Just reform it again, eh? It's been reformed so many times it's impossible to understand. THROW IT OUT! And, start over with a flat, NON-PROGRESSIVE, NON- SOCIALISTIC, no loopholes,... More ›

Elaine K.  
October 21, 2011 10:03pm
New post.

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