Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Good morning, and thank you everyone for being here. I especially want to thank our great panel of witnesses for being willing to come in this morning and provide their thoughts on this important topic.
We’re having this hearing today in preparation for the upcoming release of our 2018 budget resolution.
An important component of that resolution is the analysis of our economic conditions and our projections of future economic growth.
Over the last eight years, we’ve seen stagnant economic growth, leading economists and the CBO to consistently downgrade their growth projections.
As recently as 2012, the CBO projected our economy would average 3 percent growth over the ten-year window. This year, the CBO is only projecting an average of 1.9 percent growth over the next ten years.
However, it’s important to point out that CBO’s projections are based on the assumption of continuing existing law with no changes in economic policy.
There is no question the policies of the Obama years greatly contributed to anemic economic growth and the downgraded growth projections.
Higher taxes, the disaster that is Obamacare, an expanded regulatory regime and more federal spending and debt have held back American entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The Obama economy left millions of Americans behind. Over 14 million Americans left the labor force during President Obama’s eight years in office.
In total, 95 million Americans are now out of the labor force – that’s more than one-third the total working-age population.
It’s been the working-class Americans in the coal mines of West Virginia or the factories of Central Tennessee or the farming communities in Nebraska that have borne the brunt of the liberal agenda of the past eight years.
The ability and the opportunity to work is a fundamental pillar of the American Dream.
Without the stability and self-worth that comes from having a job and providing a better future for ones’ children, our culture, our economy, and – truly – our national morale suffers.
Plenty of our friends across the aisle and many in the media have said that 1.9 percent growth is the new normal.
They have a pessimistic view of our nation’s ability to create jobs and build a foundation of greater opportunity for all citizens, especially if the new President and Congress are successful in enacting a series of pro-growth policies.
While I’m never surprised by the media’s pessimism, I am surprised that our friends across the aisle have such a negative view of Congress’s ability to affect real change and set a new economic standard.
So I’ve got a message for everyone here today who thinks America is doomed to a future of less opportunity and potential: take your losing attitude elsewhere.
We are the greatest country on earth. We’ve got the best workers, best innovators, and the best companies. They are not the problem.
Washington, D.C. is the problem. Government is getting in their way, and it’s about time we fixed this problem.
That’s why Republicans are committed to reforming the tax code, reforming our health care system by repealing and replacing Obamacare, reducing the regulatory burden on American small businesses, and getting our fiscal house in order.
These policies will spur economic growth and unleash the potential of the American free-market economy.
We’d welcome our Democratic colleagues to join us in this effort, but it requires them to no longer be content with the status quo of the Obama years.
We’ve got to put those years behind us because there is no law that we have to forever accept President Obama’s slow-growth policies.
We can make changes to improve our economy and we can start with adopting a budget resolution that puts our country on a sound fiscal path.
Growing our economy is also a vital step to getting our fiscal house in order. Since World War II, 3 percent growth has been the historical average.
In the late 1990s, our economy grew at a rate of 4.5 percent – more than twice the rate of growth today. It’s no coincidence that we also balanced the federal budget during this period.
Strong economic growth combined with spending restraint is how we get our country on a path to balance and how we begin to pay down the national debt without raising taxes.
I believe our economy is on the cusp of a great resurgence.
The pro-growth policies of health care reform, tax reform, regulatory reform and deficit reduction will provide the economic freedom and the certainty that our economy needs to grow, create jobs, and create the type of opportunity that is the birthright of all Americans.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today on how we can develop better policies to boost our economy.
It’s time for optimism and new ideas, not pessimism and willingness to accept the status quo.
With that, I yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Yarmuth.