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Is the private sector doing fine?

Capitol report

POSTED: June 21, 2012 6:00 p.m.

At a press briefing June 8, President Obama shrugged off a question about his failed economic policies by insisting “the private sector is doing fine.”

The comments came just a week after an abysmal jobs report, which came in under even the most pessimistic estimates as 3.25 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work.

Of great concern is that Obama’s remarks were not on any teleprompter, meaning the president actually believes the private sector is doing fine.

Perhaps he got this impression from the Hollywood elite hosting fundraisers for him or from the people who can pay $30,000 a head just to attend. Sure, Rodeo Drive is doing fine, but here on Main Street that is not the case.

What’s the real problem facing this country? According to the president’s remarks, it’s the fact that state and local governments are being forced to live within their means and “don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.”

The president honestly believes the real problem in our economy is state and local governments cannot go on the same kind of deficit-fueled spending spree his administration has pursued over the past 3 1/2 years.

If government spending was the answer to our economic woes, we would be on easy street right now — but it is not. In fact, it is part of the problem.

The challenges facing state and local governments are not the root of our economic woes. They are a symptom. The private sector is not doing fine, and tax revenues are down.

The president insists that the problem is efforts by House Republicans to check the growth of government and rein in federal spending. That argument doesn’t carry water, either.

The president’s party held majorities in both houses of Congress for two years and  rubber stamped his agenda, producing his failed trillion-dollar stimulus Dodd-Frank and Obamacare.

These legislative “accomplishments” are weighing down our economy like a ton of bricks on the back of small-business owners and entrepreneurs. They have compounded the real problem facing our economy: uncertainty.

Businesses cannot invest because they do not know what new government regulation will be forced upon them. They cannot hire because they cannot be sure they can afford the employee in a few months. They cannot get capital to invest because small-town banks are crawling with big government regulators that do not understand a small-town business model.

So rather than pushing more government spending, let’s come together to address this problem.

Instead of proposing the largest tax increase in American history, let’s give small businesses the certainty of a tax code which encourages expansion.

Let’s replace Obamacare and its overly complex regulations, taxes and bureaucracy with market-based reforms that reduce the cost of care without increasing the size of government.

Let’s learn from the mistakes of Europe’s debt-fueled crisis and get our fiscal house in order to firewall ourselves from a similar fate.

Rather than demonizing wealth creation, let’s get rid of overly burdensome regulations and other government roadblocks to small businesses to reignite our economy.

The challenges we face are great, but this is America and we’ve never backed down from great challenges before. We can come together to right the ship and renew the American dream.

Kingston, a Republican from Savannah, represents Liberty and Long counties.

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