The American economy is suffering from a severe case of the "uns"—unemployment, underemployment, unfunded mandates, unaffordable health care and unsustainable debt. Congress is adding to the problem by creating uncertainty by failing to address these challenges in a bipartisan, thoughtful, pragmatic way.
We have had (until recently) the longest stretch of high unemployment (43 months above 8 percent) since the Great Depression. Gross domestic product is growing at an anemic pace.
The median net worth of American households declined 35 percent between 2005 and 2010. Median household incomes declined by 8 percent between 2007 and 2011. Four million Americans lost their homes to foreclosures, and 9 million more have been served papers. Seniors are suffering from low interest rates that diminish the value of their hard-earned savings for retirement. College students are graduating with huge debt and moving back in with their parents, unable to find good jobs. Our debt recently topped $16 trillion, equating to $50,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. And we continue to run annual deficits of more than $1 trillion. In addition, Medicare will be insolvent in 2024, and Social Security in 2033.
Although the causes of the initial recession are complex, the recovery has been hampered by a failure of leadership. Washington, D.C., should be charged with dereliction of duty. Democrats, Republicans and independents all agree the country is on the wrong path. But instead of solving problems and bringing certainty to the tax, regulatory, spending and debt environments, they pick petty partisan fights.
Businesses are justifiably hesitant to invest or hire, since there is no confidence in their future tax rates, government mandates and penalties such as the president's unaffordable health-care program. Banks are not lending due to unknowns in the new regulations, and small-business owners are struggling to get credit to start up or grow.
The looming "fiscal cliff" created by Congress adds even more uncertainty, further disincentivizing growth, investment and job creation. Due to the failures of Congress, we face tax increases on all incomes, plus deep cuts in defense and domestic programs. This will put America into a deeper recession while risking our national security.
Members of Congress are more concerned about their next election than the next generation. Washington is broken, and the economic uncertainty they have created is wrong.
When I see something is broken, I fix it. When something is wrong, I stand up to make it right. We need to change Washington by changing the people we send there.
We must get our economy going again and put people back to work. Small businesses are the engine of growth, creating seven of every 10 jobs in America. We need to reform the tax code, simplify it and lower the corporate rates to bring jobs back to the U.S. We need to roll back suffocating regulations that are hampering economic growth. We need to access our energy resources, and improve education and job-training. We need to reduce government spending and ensure our military is ready to protect us.
Ron Barber voted against multiple bipartisan legislative initiatives that would help small businesses and bring certainty to the economic situation. He voted against legislation that would put a moratorium on new regulatory burdens on small businesses. He voted against the "No More Solyndras Act," in effect supporting the failed stimulus program that put taxpayers' money into failing companies. He voted to rob $716 billion from Medicare to pay for a government takeover of health care that increases taxes and penalties on small businesses. He voted against streamlining the permit process for American energy development and simplifying the tax code. Finally, he voted against a bipartisan plan to avoid "sequestration," the devastating cuts that will risk our national security and result in thousands of lost jobs here in Southern Arizona.
Due to my commitment to fight for economic growth, small businesses and putting middle-class people back to work, and Mr. Barber's anti-small-business and anti-jobs voting record, I have been endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Home Builders and Associated Builders and Contractors.
I will bring leadership, guts, education and a results-driven mindset to Congress to lead efforts toward bipartisan solutions that bring certainty to the economy, empower small businesses, and put our middle class back to work. Too much is at stake, and I am committed to championing thoughtful, pragmatic solutions to cure us of the "uns."