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Portman Gives GOP Weekly Address: "We're Going Broke" Under Obama

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): This week, 13 million Americans won't go to work, not because they're on vacation, but because they can't find jobs.

As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to help these Americans find work.

And exactly three years ago today, he pledged 'To get this economy back on its feet.' He said about the economy, 'Give it to me.'

Well, America did give it to him. We gave him the ability to turn things around. And three years later, the results are in:

Unemployment is over 8 percent for the longest period since the Great Depression. And it's actually higher than that because so many Americans are so discouraged -- they've stopped looking for work.

Families are earning less and their homes are worth less.

We recently learned that last month, American manufacturing -- once a reliable source of good-paying jobs -- declined for the first time in three years.

This year, more than a million young Americans graduated from college. And here's the stark reality: half of them can't find a full-time job to match their degrees. Half.

It didn't have to be this way.

For the past three years or so, we've known that the greatest challenge before us as a nation is an economy that's just not producing enough jobs.

But instead of focusing on growing jobs and reigniting our economy, President Obama focused on growing government and tried to remake the United States into the image of the debt-laden countries of Europe.

His approach has been more spending, more regulation, and higher taxes.

You don't hear much from the President anymore about the two biggest initiatives of his time in office. One was passing the so-called stimulus bill. He and his economic team promised that spending almost $1 trillion of taxpayer money would get unemployment down to 5.6 percent by today. Instead, it's 46 percent higher. Measured by their own standards, his policies have failed us.

The other initiative was pushing through the unaffordable health care spending law, which will grow the government by $2.6 trillion, and do something President Obama promised he would never do: hit millions of middle class Americans with a massive tax increase.

Raising taxes on employers and the middle class, growing government at the expense of free enterprise, piling on new regulations that increase the cost of doing business -- these burdens make it harder, not easier, to create jobs in America.

President Obama increased government spending and borrowing -- to levels we've never seen before. On his watch, the national debt has grown to a record $16 trillion -- making it larger than our entire economy.

We need to face facts: we're going broke. Washington is racking up debts that are being passed on to our kids and our grandkids. If we continue at this pace, we'll be the first generation of Americans to leave the next generation worse off than us. That's wrong. It's unfair. And it has to change.

Based on this record, you'd think that President Obama would've learned from his mistakes. Instead he seems to be doubling down.

Today, instead of lifting the burden on job creators, the President is once again calling for a massive tax increase on nearly 1 million small businesses that employ tens of millions of Americans. I guess he still thinks the private sector is doing just fine. Well, the private sector is not fine. And raising taxes on job creators during a jobs shortage makes about as much sense as cutting off the water supply during a drought.

President Obama says this tax hike is about fairness. Well, under his plan, many of these small businesses would pay higher taxes than Fortune 500 companies. How's that fair? President Obama likes to talk about the Buffett Rule. Well, here's a Buffett Rule that all Americans should be able to support: mom and pop businesses should not pay a higher tax rate than Fortune 500 corporations like Warren Buffett's.

The good news is there's a better path forward.

The way to an American economic comeback, the way to help those out of work today find a paycheck, is to unleash the forces of job creation in America. The source of new jobs isn't going to be the bureaucracies of Washington, but rather the creativity, ingenuity, and hard work of the American people.

Let's reform our complex, outdated tax code by eliminating loopholes, lowering tax rates, and rewarding hard work, innovation, and job creation.

Let's make the tough choices needed to prevent the record federal debt from smothering our economic growth and job creation.

Let's lift the regulatory burdens that small businesses say are the single greatest threat from Washington today.

And let's tap into the exciting potential of homegrown American energy -- including shale oil and gas -- to create jobs and to get us away from our dangerous dependency on foreign oil.

There's no denying the challenges America faces today are real and they're serious. But I know we can solve them with the right policies and the right leadership.

For all our current troubles, Americans are still the hardest working, most innovative people on the face of the earth. By trusting the American people, instead of government, we'll continue to surprise and inspire the world.

The government-knows-best approach of the past few years has given us the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression. It's time to turn things around. We know we can restore America's greatness by harnessing the power of free people and free enterprise.

Thanks for listening -- and God bless our great country.

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