Americans face a mystery caper of gargantuan proportions. With 9.1 percent unemployment and only 1 percent growth in Gross Domestic Product in the last quarter, our national economy is sputtering. Economists fret about the possibility of a double-dip recession. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke worries that overseas investors are losing confidence in the United States.
In a time of national economic crisis, we should expect that elected officials would be rushing to take action and address the disaster of 14 million unemployed people. Doing nothing is a tragedy for those folks and it exacerbates our budget deficit problem. The combination of weak growth and high unemployment raises expenses at the very time tax receipts slow down.
Confronting this problem, President Barack Obama has proposed a number of ideas that Republicans have supported in the past. He has embraced tax cuts and said we need to reduce Social Security payroll taxes. He has offered tax credits for small businesses that hire the long-term unemployed. He has suggested investments to repair our decaying infrastructure.
Even though these are vintage Republican ideas, many GOP presidential candidates already have condemned his proposals and refused to support action. Texas Governor Rick Perry criticized Obama’s “mistaken belief that we can spend our way to prosperity.” F