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 12:50 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
LZ Granderson says the cyber-standing ovation given to Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus-size model who posted unretouched photos, shows how crazy Americans' notions of beauty have become
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
A crisis like the Gaza conflict or the surge of immigrants can be an opportunity for a lame duck president, writes Julian Zelizer
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Carol Costello says the league's light punishment sent the message that it didn't consider domestic violence a serious offense
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Danny Cevallos says saggy pants aren't the kind of fashion statement protected by the First Amendment.
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Margaret Hoover says some GOP legislators support a state's right to allow same-sex marriage and the right of churches, synagogues and mosques not to perform the sacrament
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Priya Satia says today's drones for bombardment and surveillance have their roots in the deadly history of Western aerial control of the Middle East that began in World War One
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
updated 6:25 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
updated 11:33 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Ruti Teitel says assigning a costly and humiliating "collective guilt" to Germany after WWI would end up teaching the global community hard lessons about who to blame for war crimes
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
updated 6:05 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 2:53 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT