Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Obama, where is the recovery?

By John Thune, Special to CNN
updated 10:52 AM EDT, Fri June 22, 2012
A job fair in New York City in June.
A job fair in New York City in June.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • John Thune: Two years ago this week, Obama claimed that economy will improve
  • Thune: Today, Americans are still waiting for the recovery
  • He says Republicans have a better plan: Repeal health care law, stop tax hike, cut spending
  • Thune: Road to real recovery is not doubling down on the failed policies of the past few years

Editor's note: John Thune is a senator from South Dakota and the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. He serves on the Senate Budget and Finance Committee.

(CNN) -- Two years ago this week, the Obama administration hailed the advent of the "Summer of Economic Recovery." The president's stimulus bill had passed a Democratic-controlled Congress just over a year before, accompanied by rosy predictions on job creation from the administration.

President Obama claimed that "the economy is headed in the right direction," and Vice President Joe Biden confidently predicted the creation of 250,000 to 500,000 new jobs a month. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner published an op-ed in The New York Times boldly entitled "Welcome to the Recovery."

Two years later, Americans are still waiting for the recovery. Today's job figures are well below the 250,000 to 500,000 jobs per month that Vice President Biden forecast. This year, the economy created a dismal 77,000 jobs in April and just 69,000 jobs in May, less than half of the 150,000 jobs needed each month just to keep up with population growth. Unemployment, which the White House predicted would shrink below 6% by April 2012, has remained at or above 8% for 40 straight months.

It doesn't take an economist to realize the president's economic policies have spectacularly failed to make things better.

John Thune
John Thune

Yet, the president doesn't seem to understand just how badly Americans are hurting. Despite the more than 23 million Americans who remain unemployed or underemployed, the president recently claimed that the private sector is "doing fine" and that what America actually needs is more government spending and more government workers. In other words, more of the same. More stimulus spending from Washington that explodes the debt. More government picking winners and losers. More taxes. More regulation.

It's time to try something new.

Fed warns of economic slowdown

Republicans have a plan to get our economy moving again. First, we need to ensure businesses are confident enough to expand and hire more workers. That means stopping the job-killing regulations that are strangling small businesses and reforming our burdensome and complicated tax code to fuel economic growth. It also means stopping a large tax increase, which is scheduled to hit next year unless Congress acts. The threat of this massive tax hike is creating serious economic uncertainty and discouraging companies from hiring more workers.

We can create tens of thousands of new American jobs by encouraging the development of America's vast energy resources and supporting truly shovel-ready projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, which would create an estimated 20,000 jobs, according to TransCanada, while boosting domestic energy production.

We also need to protect jobs by repealing the president's health care law, which is driving up health care costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire workers. The director of the Congressional Budget Office testified that the health care law will mean 800,000 fewer jobs over the next decade. Those are jobs Americans can't afford to lose.

Finally, we need to cut reckless government spending and tackle the mounting debt crisis. America's brightest days are ahead. But if we don't take action soon, our country could end up in the kind of financial disaster Greece and Spain are facing. Our children and grandchildren should not have to pay for Washington's inability to stick to a budget. We owe it to the next generation to leave the country better than we found it.

The first step on the road to real recovery is not doubling down on the failed policies we've seen over the past 3½ years. Republicans are ready to get to work to jump-start our economy. We hope Democrats will join us.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Thune.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:59 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
You could be forgiven for thinking no one cares -- or even should care, right now -- about climate change, writes CNN's John Sutter. But you'd be mistaken.
updated 5:32 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
David Gergen says the White House's war against ISIS is getting off to a rough start and needs to be set right
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
John Sutter boarded a leaky oyster boat in Connecticut with a captain who can't swim as he set off to get world leaders to act on climate change
updated 3:17 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says making rude use of the Mexican flag on Mexican independence day in a concert in Mexico was extremely tasteless, but not an international incident.
updated 9:59 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Michael Dunn is going to stand trial again after a jury was unable to reach a verdict; Mark O'Mara hopes for a fair trial.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Is ballet dying? CNN spoke with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, about the future of the art form.
updated 5:47 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Sally Kohn says it's time we take climate change as seriously as we do warfare in the Middle East
updated 3:27 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Laurence Steinberg says the high obesity rate among young children is worrisome for a host of reasons
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Dean Obeidallah says an Oklahoma state representative's hateful remarks were rightfully condemned by religious leaders..
updated 3:22 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
No matter how much planning has gone into U.S. military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change, says Geneive Abdo
updated 11:44 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
President Obama's strategy for destroying ISIS seems to depend on a volley of air strikes. That won't be enough, says Haider Mullick.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Paul Begala says Hillary Clinton has plenty of good reasons not to jump into the 2016 race now
updated 11:01 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Scotland decided to trust its 16-year-olds to vote in the biggest question in its history. Americans, in contrast, don't even trust theirs to help pick the county sheriff. Who's right?
updated 9:57 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
updated 11:47 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Frida Ghitis says the foiled Australian plot shows ISIS is working diligently to taunt the U.S. and its allies.
updated 3:58 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Young U.S. voters by and large just do not see the midterm elections offering legitimate choices because, in their eyes, Congress has proven to be largely ineffectual, and worse uncaring, argues John Della Volpe
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
updated 8:34 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT