BATESVILLE — This column was submitted by Luke Messer.
More than 12 million Americans are looking for work according to the Department of Labor’s most recent report on unemployment, confirmation that the weak economy continues to plod along too sluggishly for those still without a job.
The jobs report included other troubling news. While the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent, up slightly from December, the labor force participation rate remained largely unchanged near 30-year lows, meaning many people have simply given up looking for work altogether. We also learned that wages are just barely keeping pace with inflation, an indication that those with jobs are working harder just to pay for rising prices. These numbers should compel the President to act as urgently and aggressively as possible to put people back to work.
Unfortunately, the President seems to be focused on everything but creating jobs. He hardly mentioned the economy in his inaugural address, instead choosing to lecture on a series of social issues including the threat of global climate change. For more than a month, his public statements have left the impression that our Nation’s most pressing domestic issue is the debate over an assault weapons ban. Worse yet, the President just closed-down his own jobs council after just a few meetings. The President also has missed the deadline for submitting his budget for the coming fiscal year to Congress.
It is as if the President believes America is faced with a “new normal” and his job simply is to manage our Nation’s decline. Simply put: that is not good enough. Our fellow Americans deserve an economy where those willing to work hard and sacrifice can find jobs with wages worthy of their contributions. We can do better than having working families falling farther behind, despite their best efforts. We should demand more than an economy where paltry job gains barely dent unemployment, if at all.
There is a better way. We need less government spending and more economic growth. That effort starts by lowering taxes, controlling spending, living within our means, and reducing the debt. We need to incentivize and reward risk and achievement by job creators, not discourage and penalize them. When we follow these principles, we will have more jobs.
I have cosponsored a Constitutional Amendment to require a balanced budget, prevent Congress from spending more than it takes in, and make it harder to raise taxes. As a member of the House Committee on the Budget, I am going to work with Chairman Paul Ryan to control spending and balance the budget as soon as possible.
Washington needs to start working harder for taxpayers instead of expecting them to work harder for the government. I am committed to expanding economic opportunities and creating a healthier and more secure economy where there are jobs for the millions of people without work. I am willing to work with anyone who is focused on those same goals.
Luke Messer is the Congressman for Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, a 19 county region of east-central and southeastern Indiana comprised of manufacturing and agricultural communities.