The top priorities have to be job creation and fiscal discipline, and there ought to be broad-based political support for those goals. It seems like the President has come to this realization after last November’s election. The new seating arrangement for tonight’s State of the Union address is symbolic, but it can’t do as much as the tone set by the President in his remarks and, even more so, the follow through after the speech.
I had constituent meetings in 24 Iowa counties last week and heard employers say they need long-term tax certainty and tax reforms to enhance competitiveness and enable job creation. They need relief from costly mandates and regulations that undo any benefit they’re supposed to get from the federal government, especially in rural America. The President’s goal to look at contradictory or unneeded regulations is welcome, and I intend to give him some common sense ideas from Iowa to get started. Washington also should foster innovation and the resulting economic opportunities with initiatives such as patent reform.
American manufacturers, farmers and service industries need new markets for exports. International trade leads to higher paying jobs and new opportunities for workers. It’s time for the administration to match its rhetoric with reality by getting the United States off the sidelines and finalizing valuable trade agreements that have been pending for years. The rest of the world is moving forward without us, at the expense of America’s workforce. For example, Caterpillar is waiting to export more bulldozers made in Illinois to Colombia under a free-trade agreement signed in 2006 but never implemented. If U.S. companies can’t get access to foreign markets, companies in other countries will. The President’s stated goal of doubling exports will be hard to achieve on the margins, without trade agreements. I want to work with him to achieve those agreements, if he’s willing to back his words with action.
A positive outcome of the 2010 election must be fiscal restraint. That needs to include spending freezes, spending reductions, and beefed up efforts to stop fraud, waste and abuse of tax dollars. The renewed effort to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution is very good news for taxpayers and good government. It should be accompanied by line-item veto authority for the President. Both measures would result in greater accountability in Washington.
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