In the News: Blog

By Molly K. Hooper

A freshman GOP Senator said on Saturday that President Obama needs to focus on the root cause of the nation’s economic woes, not the symptoms.

Self-proclaimed citizen legislator Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) argued that big government is behind the ballooning deficits, high unemployment rate and bloated debt.

“Huge deficits, slow economic activity, high unemployment, and woefully inadequate job creation are severe symptoms of the problem. They are not the root cause. The ever expanding size, scope, and cost of government is. This is what we must address. This is what I hope the president has come to realize,” Johnson said in the official GOP response to the president’s weekly address.

He continued, “I hope the president and his allies in Congress accept a simple truth: big government is blocking job creation, not helping it. The sooner Washington ends its dependence on more spending, the sooner our economy will see real growth.”

Johnson, who defeated longtime incumbent Badger State Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, said that he bring the perspective of “someone who’s been creating jobs, meeting a payroll, balancing a budget and living under the rules, regulations and taxes that politicians … impose on the rest of us.”

The former plastics manufacturing plant owner underscored that point, “unfortunately, when it comes to creating jobs, government is rarely helpful. Government tends to make it harder and more expensive to create jobs. We need to make job creation easier and cheaper.”

The president made a quick trip to Wisconsin earlier this week, following the Tuesday night State of the Union Address, which centered on the nation’s economic situation.

In the nationally televised speech, the president spoke of making “investments” in the economy.

Johnson indicated his concern, though, that Obama will not take the steps that Republicans feel are necessary to jump-start the economy such as “allowing taxpayers and businesses to keep more of their hard-earned dollars, and providing them the freedom to invest where they choose.”

“Unfortunately, I’m afraid he means more government spending and more government control. The lesson we all should have learned from the pitiful results of the $814 billion stimulus bill is that growing government does not grow our economy or create long-term, self-sustaining jobs. It is the private sector that creates jobs,” Johnson said.

The freshman senator noted that Congress and the president will tackle these issues head-on in the near future with the impending need to raise the national debt ceiling.

“The issues of spending, deficits, and the debt will be central in the upcoming debate over the 2011 spending bill and the need to raise the debt ceiling. This will be the moment of truth when talk and rhetoric must be turned into action and tangible results. Real reductions must be part of the solution,” Johnson said.

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