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Camp Opening Statement: Hearing on President’s FY2011 Budget Overview

February 03, 2010

Thank you Mr. Chairman, and welcome back to the Committee, Mr. Secretary.

Today we begin our annual cycle of hearings on the President’s budget proposals and their effects stretching out for the coming decade.  As usual, we will have many specific questions about what the Administration plans in terms of spending and taxes, and why.

But before we get to the specific questions about the individual proposals in here, a larger question looms in the minds of tens of millions of Americans. 

Where are the jobs?

Last year at this time, President Obama and Democrats in charge of Congress were putting the final touches on their so-called stimulus plan.  And in selling that plan, they made all sorts of promises about the jobs it would create and the beneficial impact it would have on the unemployment rate.

Everyone is, of course, entitled to their opinions. But facts are stubborn things. And the facts, quite clearly, show the promises made by this Administration about stimulus were more than a little off the mark.

Instead of creating 3.5 million jobs as Democrats promised, we have since witnessed the elimination of nearly three million more jobs.

As we can see from the chart on the screen, we were told unemployment would stay below 8 percent if stimulus passed.  Yet unemployment is now 10 percent, and the President’s budget admits it will stay there throughout 2010.

Instead of more paychecks, the lasting legacy of stimulus may be measured more by the spike in the number of people collecting unemployment checks.  A record twelve million Americans recently claimed unemployment benefits, almost 50% more than the eight million when Congress passed stimulus.

Today, ten months after stimulus, 49 of 50 States have lost jobs, representing another promise made, but not kept, in selling this debt-bloating behemoth to the nation.

Other promises, such as those claiming most job creation would be in the private sector or that construction and manufacturing would benefit especially, have been shown to be equally off the mark.

These are not empty assertions. These are all painstakingly documented and can be found on the website of Ways and Means Committee Republicans.

Further proof of the failures of stimulus can be found in last week’s report by the Congressional Budget Office, which found stimulus actually cost taxpayers $75 billion more than originally forecast, in large part because the failure to create jobs drove up spending on unemployment and other federal benefits.

This is the sobering context in which we will consider today’s budget. Simply put, it proposes the highest spending, largest tax hikes, and biggest deficits in American history.  Meanwhile, the Administration claims these steps are necessary to spur job growth in the coming decade.

And that really leads us to a more basic question.  If the nearly $1 trillion added to our debt by stimulus didn’t spur job creation this year, why should we expect that adding another $9 trillion in debt over the next decade – as this budget proposes – will improve things?

I look forward to a discussion of how the specifics in the President’s budget will actually create real jobs.  Not “jobs funded” or “jobs temporarily saved until stimulus money runs out” or whatever else someone would like to count.  But real, lasting jobs in profit-making companies that are selling goods and services to our fellow Americans and customers around the world.

Because for people across the country, especially those I represent in Michigan where the unemployment rate is over 14 percent today, “how does it create jobs” is the first, middle, and last question on their minds.

Today, I will be looking for answers to these questions from the Administration.  I thank the Chairman and yield back the balance of my time.