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Grassley makes sense on jobs

By Staff | Jan 6, 2012

It’s not surprising that so many Americans express uneasiness about the state of this nation’s economy. A “recession” that began in December 2007 may have ended according to the definition of that term used by most professional economists. There is, however, an unpleasant reality that is causing widespread gloom. The economy is not growing fast enough to reverse the massive unemployment that has persisted for far longer than most people expected three of four years ago.

Unemployment seems stuck nationally at close to 9 percent. More than 26 million Americans either lack jobs or find themselves doing work that underutilizes their education and skills.

With that somber situation as context, Sen. Charles Grassley took to the floor of the U.S. Senate on Nov. 2 to share his perspective regarding some of the policies being proposed to rectify this situation. His observations make good sense and are worth pondering.

The Iowa Republican had particularly harsh words for the recommendation that the federal government channel additional money to state and local governments to subsidize public sector employment.

“The truth is, these efforts to save state and local public sector jobs are more simply a bailout of state and local governments that have failed to rein in their own spending,” Grassley said. “They’ve become addicted to tax and spend, big government policies, and federal bailouts have only aided that addiction. Rather than make the necessary and difficult budget decisions, they’ve come to rely on the spendthrift behavior of Congress to spend more and plug their budget holes.”

That message should elicit applause in states like Iowa that have addressed budget problems forthrightly rather than defer hard policy decisions by engaging in unsustainable deficit spending.

“Nationally, the debt held by states is approaching $3 trillion,” Grassley said. “This figure doesn’t even include unfunded pension liabilities. Some of the states in the worst trouble are Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois and California. … The free-spending legislatures, coupled with a huge public work force, have driven up the cost of doing business in these states. It has also negatively impacted their unemployment rates and their economic growth.” Simply put, it is wrong to reward those states whose policymakers have behaved irresponsibly by asking taxpayers from states where hard decisions and prudence have prevailed to help pay the bill.

Instead of bailouts, Grassley strongly advocates national policies that can help stimulate the growth necessary for a robust economic recovery. He argues that reconsidering federal regulatory activity is a more productive approach than additional federal subsidies.

“It’s time to put an end to the job-killing federal regulations,” Grassley said. “New regulations from the EPA, Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board and others are making it harder for businesses to grow. In some cases, the new regulations are actually destroying jobs.”

Regulatory overkill regarding the domestic energy industries is cited by the senator as a key inhibitor of both the achievement of energy self-sufficiency and job growth. It’s time to change course and develop energy sources here at home and create jobs in the process,” Grassley said.

Farm News shares Grassley’s analysis. More subsidies aren’t the answer. Easing the regulatory burden on the private sector is the best way to jump-start the economy.

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