Rep. Upton in Newsmax: Obama a Roadblock to Growth

March 9, 2012

Over the next several months, if the economy continues to improve, President Obama and his Democratic allies will no doubt spike the ball and start an end zone victory dance.

Despite four years of trillion-dollar deficits and other growth stalling directives from Washington, they'll celebrate saying change has dawned.

But most Americans will see through this trumped up elation. We could -- and should -- be doing a lot better.

The Republican House has halted Democrats' job killing legislation and massive regulatory overreach. Since then, we have begun lifting the heavy footprint of big government on small businesses and investors. And in turn, growth is now moving slowly in the right direction. But with President Obama charging ahead with his costly agenda, threats to recovery remain.

And despite the Democrats' chest thumping about small changes in the unemployment rate, this recovery still lags by historical standards.

Part of the reason is the continuing European debt and economic situation. Their financial mess slows our exports and sends periodic jitters through U.S. equity markets. It's like an economic Berlin Wall blocking the march of global growth.

Yet the White House and the Democratic-controlled Senate's specific ideas are the real partition to a stronger recovery. Small businesses and investors don't see a lot of growth-oriented policies in the Washington pipeline. Instead, more government spending and higher taxes are on their agenda. That's not the kind of fuel that puts a recovery into high gear.

In contrast, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives over the last 14 months has tried to produce more prosperity-friendly policies, despite no cooperation from the White House and Senate Democrats.

We proposed common sense solutions as an alternative to Obama's new job-killing Washington mandates and regulations. We passed legislation that would replace the need for government-mandated failures like Solyndra with market-oriented job creators such as the Keystone pipeline. We posited a fairer, simpler, and more growth oriented tax code. We voted to repeal a healthcare law that produces unprecedented federal controls and unsustainable spending so that we can replace it with pro-patient solutions.

All of these initiatives have stalled due to partisan obstruction by Democrats in the Senate or the White House. The only good news is that divided government has been a guardrail on the public policy highway -- keeping President Obama and Senate Democrats in their lane and the economy out of the ditch.

History will demonstrate that Democrats -- controlling all the levers of power in 2009 and 2010 -- pushed a center-right country too far to the left. They created costly, growth crushing mandates and deficit spending that shifted power to Washington in an unprecedented manner, simultaneously putting a new drag on entrepreneurs and job creators.

House Republicans have provided an antidote to two years of liberal ambition. We have been fighting everyday for hardworking taxpayers and small businesses, trying to thwart Democrats' efforts to remake the American economy in the image of a left-leaning European social democracy.

President Obama will try to turn the tables. He will paint the GOP as obstacles to his vision of progress. As conservatives, we should accept that as a badge of honor.

But the Republican House -- by stopping him from continuing a spending and regulation free-for-all -- has also done more to restore economic confidence and balance than any of Obama's policies could have possibly accomplished.

Every American hopes the economy continues to improve. But if it does, it's not because of Obama and the Democrats' massive deficit spending and parade of new regulations. It will be because there is now a check on those aspirations and more balance to the process.

The White House has adopted an annoying public relations slogan to accompany each of its new spending and regulatory initiatives. The President prefaces every new press release about a new government program with the words: "We Can't Wait." He presumably means Congress should step on the gas when it comes to adopting his prosperity killing policy ideas. In response, House Republicans should adopt a slogan of their own to the White House's "we can't wait" propaganda. It should be "Yes We Can." Now is not the time for Obama to do a political Lambeau Leap for an improving jobs picture. The American economy is actually worse off due to his policies.

To read the opinion online, click here.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., is Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and wrote this column exclusively for Newsmax.

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