While many Americans celebrated Groundhog Day yesterday, lawmakers in Washington were participating in a more regular tradition: debating the state of the economy. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke took the stand before the House Budget Committee to defend the central bank’s recent policy decisions, a performance that mirrored the pomp and circumstance of the activities in Punxsutawney.
Bernanke’s repetition of poor policy prescriptions was a fitting way to celebrate the national holiday. Once again, he insisted that interest rates will remain low without affecting inflation, and that government spending will increase job growth. In fact, Bernanke warned lawmakers ahead of the August debt deal that cutting spending too quickly would be catastrophic for the economy. In reality, the succeeding five months have been the only consistent decrease in the unemployment rate since the start of the Obama Administration. And yet, both the President and the Chairman ignore actual pro-growth policy. There are several common sense solutions that have yet to be implemented, despite the abysmal economic performance of the past three years.
- Make full business expensing permanent accompanying a full overhaul of the U.S. tax code
- With one of the highest marginal corporate tax rates in the world, the corporate tax rate should be lowered to 20 percent to make American companies competitive
- Stop double-taxing Americans companies that want to bring earnings back to the United States to hire American workers
- Rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and denying Americans the 1.2 million jobs to be had by allowing the development of the country’s massive oil and natural gas resources
- Forgoing the $25 billion in revenues that would result from voluntary incentive auctions of unused spectrum, yet another national resource the President has been loath to utilize
While America’s favorite groundhog may have predicted six more weeks of winter, the nation’s (least?) favorite policymaker admitted the country would likely face many more years of poor job growth. The recent CBO report confirms this: unemployment is expected to stay above 8 percent (the number we were promised it would never crest with the passage of the “stimulus”) until 2017. The Obama Administration has many pro-growth policies at its fingertips. What will it take to get the President to act?