January 4, 2012
STEUBENVILLE – U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, said Tuesday too many government regulations and a tax code that is too thick have hamstrung the American economy, costing the nation trillions of dollars and discouraging job growth and business expansion.
Johnson, in Steubenville to meet with constituents, said a healthy business community is key to a healthy economy. And he said the key to a healthy business community is regulatory and tax reforms to spur economic growth and encourage job creation.
“Federal regulations cost our economy around $1.5 trillion a year,” he said. “This year alone, the administration will implement $100 billion in additional costs through new regulations. That’s just new regulations there are more than 72,000 pages of new regulations.”
And he said it costs Americans $160 billion a year to comply with the nation’s cumbersome 65,000-page tax code, based on 2009 statistics.
“We need to get America back to work, we need to give America a reason to believe, to want to go back to work,” Johnson said during a meeting with the Herald-Star’s editorial board. “This administration, for three years running, has seen unemployment at or in excess of 9 percent in spite of a $1.2 trillion stimulus, in spite of TARPS and bailouts. Those are the kinds of economic policies that have gotten us into this miserable economic condition we’re in. We’ve got some opportunity now to get us out of it. I believe through regulatory reform, getting regulations off the backs of American business and through tax reform, we can begin to see some certainty come back to the business community and we’ll see the business community grow and expand.”
He also said allowing Washington bureaucrats to shape energy policies could be disastrous, pointing to efforts to rewrite buffer zone rules that could eliminate thousands of coal mining jobs and cut coal production in half.
“We’ve had the technology available for years to use coal in a more environmentally (sound) way,” he said. “But business is not going to invest (that much money) when they have to worry about government shutting them down. How can you justify the cost of investing if you have no sense of future? We have a lot of hard work to do on the regulatory front.”
In terms of oil and gas drilling, he said House members “going to have to roll up our sleeves and fight” to keep so-called “unelected bureaucrats in Washington” from inserting themselves in the regulatory process.
He said, too, that Americans as a whole understand the dangers of a government that spends more than it takes in and overwhelmingly support a balanced federal budget, but a Democrat-controlled Senate stands in the way.
“The Senate refuses to act,” he said. “This is the same Senate that hasn’t passed a budget in about three years It’s unimaginable that the Senate of the United States, the greatest nation on the planet, the world’s No. 1 economy, would think it’s acceptable to live in the uncertain climate of continuing resolutions and stopgap funding, teetering on the brink of government shutdown year after year after year. It makes no sense. It’s not what the American people deserve.”
Johnson said single digit approval ratings for Congress are an indication that the American people are “sick and tired of partisan politics.”
“Dividing lines have been drawn, people are not willing to (make concessions) to move the ball forward,” he said. “I think the American people have reason to expect more from their elected officials than that.”