Post Gazette Op-Ed: How To Revive the EconomyWednesday, September 7, 2011
Americans are angry and with good reason. They are hurting from unemployment, uncertainty in stock market investments and declining retirement funds. And they are weary of waiting for a real workable plan to get us out of this rut.
This is not a time to try the same failed policies of borrowing, debt and calls for tax increases. So we offer these ideas as President Barack Obama prepares to address Congress Thursday if he really wants to make some major bipartisan moves to get our country moving again.
This is not a plan for more government spending that says "trust me" even though we are failing. We need to unleash American ingenuity hungry for the opportunity to succeed.
First, allow U.S. employers to repatriate $1 trillion sitting in overseas banks. The current tax rate of 35 percent is a huge barrier blocking those dollars from being invested in jobs, boosting the stock market and raising the value of retirement funds.
Some companies use armies of attorneys and accountants to find ways to cut those taxes, followed by the Internal Revenue Service tracking them down. Stop the nonsense. Offer a lower tax rate, perhaps 15 percent, for a limited time (maybe even a lower rate if the money is invested in job creation or in purchasing U.S. goods).
We borrowed hundreds of billions for the failed "stimulus" bill and unemployment grew. Bring back the trillion dollars: We would owe no one a thing, revenues would increase, and jobs would grow.
Second, freeze the massive number of proposed regulations until Congress can review and approve them. Regulations cost U.S. employers more than $1.75 trillion per year. Federal agencies are moving forward with more than 4,257 new regulations that will add tens of billions in regulatory costs -- more than tripling the burden of agency mandates from 2009.
Employers are worried how this tsunami of new regulations will overwhelm their businesses so they are holding back on growth and hiring. Unless a regulation is absolutely necessary to protect the public's health and safety, it should be stopped now. Enactment of House Resolution 10, the REINS Act, would require congressional review and approval for any mandate costing the economy more than $100 million annually.
Third, pass our bipartisan Infrastructure Jobs and Energy Independence Act (H.R. 1861), to expand safe offshore oil and gas exploration, create 1.2 million new jobs annually and launch $8 trillion in economic output. Our bipartisan bill dedicates a portion of up to $3.7 trillion in federal oil and gas revenues from the new exploration for investments in new energy technologies, power generation and grid modernization to help put us on a path to energy independence.
Rather than sending $130 billion per year as foreign aid to OPEC when we buy their oil, our bill dedicates these revenues to rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, water systems, sewers, locks, dams and airports. It would help clean up waterways such as the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River basin and Chesapeake Bay. It would fund energy conservation in our offices, factories and homes. We can this without borrowing or raising taxes.
Finally, to preserve a free global market for trade, we must hold foreign nations accountable to abide by international agreements. This year, America will lose its position as the global manufacturing leader to China, in large part because Beijing illegally gives its exports a 20 percent to 40 percent discount by manipulating and devaluing its currency.
Last year, the House overwhelmingly passed a remedy but it languished in the Senate. The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (H.R. 639) would give the Department of Commerce authority to take action. Let's pass it this time and make sure free trade means we all play by the rules.
Americans cannot feed their families with political delays, blame tactics or animosity. More debt, regulations and taxes are not creating jobs. We can get this country moving again and unleash the mighty power of the American worker that has made us the envy of the world.
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