Friday, March 19, 2010

The Wrong Prescription for Economic Growth

By Congressman Bob Goodlatte
R - 6th Congressional District

Nearly two months ago President Obama stood before the Members of the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court Justices, his own Cabinet Members and millions of Americans who were watching on television to deliver his first State of the Union address. In that speech he declared that as economic uncertainty continues to plague our nation the government must focus on policies that promote economic growth and job creation. My how things have changed in just two short months.

Congress should be working to reduce the tax and regulatory burdens that hinder small businesses and ultimately overall economic growth and job creation. Instead, over the loud objections of a majority of Americans, the Democrats in Congress continue to advance their health care reform proposal which sets the tone for a Washington takeover of the health care system. This legislation which contains a multitude of new federal regulations, mandates, new big government programs, and a significant increase in federal spending and debt, will be extremely detrimental to American businesses and particularly our small businesses, which will make job losses even worse.

As I write this the legislation the Majority is pushing includes over $569 billion in tax increases and over $523 billion in Medicare cuts. This includes $52 billion in new taxes on employers, including small businesses, that cannot afford to provide health coverage or that don’t offer coverage. The effect of this type of tax, similar to a payroll tax increase, would ultimately fall squarely on workers in the form of lower wages or reduced employment. Additionally, the legislation includes $17 billion in new taxes on Americans who do not comply with the individual insurance mandate which is sure to further stifle economic growth.

In fact, 130 economists from all across the country sent President Obama a letter explaining how this legislation is a job-killer. In their letter, the economists stated that the insurance mandate and the tax increases, among other things, will “constrict economic growth and reduce employment” while “increasing spending on health care and increasing the cost of health coverage.”

It’s your job to make health care decisions for your family. The government’s job is to ensure you have access to affordable alternatives and then get out of the way. That is why I strongly support an alternative proposal which allows for the purchase of health insurance across state lines, allows individuals and small businesses to join large pools to get more competitive rates, provides tort reform to cut down the high cost of defensive medicine, allows full tax deductibility of health insurance premiums, portability of health insurance and protection against pre-existing condition exclusions. In addition, I support health insurance tax credits for individuals and families who don’t have access to employer-based health insurance, increasing the number of community health centers, and encouraging the use of health information technology to achieve greater efficiencies.

Congress should not be pushing a government takeover of health care that will inflict even more harm on our nation’s economy, making job losses even worse. Instead Congress must focus on strategies that help Americans obtain the best quality health care at the least cost, and ensure that the government fosters increased access to quality care based on individual choice, not by taking away choices from people on the grounds that government knows best.

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