House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Ranking Member

Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.


Left Turns

January 27, 2010

CONTACT: Alexa Marrero
or Ryan Murphy
(202) 225-4527

SOTU Preview: A Phony Freeze & Growing Government … But Where Are the Jobs?

As President Obama prepares to deliver his first State of the Union address, the Administration continues to pay lip service to job creation in the face of double-digit unemployment rates and continued job losses. But a close look at the policies proposed by the White House in recent days reveals just more of the same big-government policies that have failed to spur a real economic recovery.

A Spending “Freeze” that Locks In Deficit Spending

After a year-long spending binge that inflated government budgets and exploded the federal deficit, the President is expected to propose a “freeze” on certain discretionary spending for the next three years. Translation: the federal budget has ballooned under the Democrats' watch and they are desperate for political cover even if this "freeze" is little more than a phony solution.

Just yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office projected a deficit of $1.35 trillion for 2010, with the likelihood that our debt could reach $15 trillion in the next decade. By maintaining the status quo with a spending freeze, the Administration is keeping our country on course for debts and deficits as far as the eye can see.

Job-Killing Policies that Promote Bigger Government and More Bureaucrats

In a Washington dominated by Democrats, the first order of business seems to be expanding the size and scope of the federal government. They started with a government takeover of the auto industry and financial markets and quickly moved on to divisive proposals that would put bureaucrats in control of health care and student loans.

The President is expected in tonight’s speech to press once again for these controversial proposals, reiterating his call for government sponsored, controlled, regulated, funded, and mandated health care. Rather than taking concrete steps to control and lower health care costs, existing Democrat proposals would add trillions of dollars of spending on a new entitlement program, raise taxes, and cut Medicare. The President would be wise to heed Americans’ calls to reject these big-government proposals and start working in a true bipartisan way to make health care reform a reality.

As if that weren’t enough, the Administration has put forward a plan to eliminate the private sector-based student loan program in favor of direct borrowing from the U.S. Treasury. This one-size-fits-all approach to college financial aid would be exacerbated by a plan that distorts the college cost market by requiring taxpayers to foot the bill for a portion of college debt. Under the plan, the President would expand an existing Income-Based Repayment program to force taxpayers to fund special benefits for government workers and pay off individuals’ student loan debt.

The results of Democrats’ growing government schemes are evident. For the first time ever, a majority of unionized workers are now government employees. In fact, while the U.S. economy continues to shed jobs overall, the number of unionized federal, state, and local government workers actually rose in 2009, and 52 percent of unionized workers are now employees of some level of government. Two interest groups in one?

The American People Continue to Ask: Where Are the Jobs?

Since the President's inauguration, the U.S. economy has lost 3.4 million jobs. The national unemployment rate stands at 10 percent, and millions of Americans are forced to work part-time or have given up looking for a job altogether because the promised economic recovery has not materialized.

Earlier this week, the White House unveiled “a package of modest initiatives” – so dubbed by the New York Times – aimed at the struggling middle class. Yet not a single proposal they unveiled is aimed at creating and sustaining jobs. Worse still, Democrats have maintained their support for job-killing policies like a national energy tax, a government takeover of health care, and the special interest giveaway known as “card check” union organizing and expansion.

The American people will be watching tonight. Is this what they can expect to hear?

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