Portman: Typical Recovery Would Have ‘Created 10 Million More Jobs Since Recession’

‘Since President Obama took office, middle class families have seen their incomes drop by an average of 8 percent’

"Hi, I'm U.S. Senator Rob Portman from Ohio. This week, President Obama released his annual budget proposal. It's a 2,000 page document that spells out how he'd like to spend your hard earned tax dollars.

"But a budget is about more than how much the government spends and how much it taxes. As any family who's ever sat down around the kitchen table to figure out how a budget works knows, it's about making tough choices and setting priorities for the future. Unfortunately, President Obama doesn't make those tough choices in this budget.

"It's no secret that Washington is addicted to overspending, but, boy, the numbers are now simply staggering. Every year of the Obama presidency, the federal government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars more than it takes in, and those massive yearly deficits, they add up. In the first six years of his administration, President Obama has added a record $7.5 trillion to the national debt. To put that in perspective, that's about $60,000 in new debt for every American household. By the end of his presidency, President Obama will have added nearly as much debt as every previous president in history--combined.

"These aren't just numbers on a page, either. This Washington red ink matters. As the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has repeatedly told us, higher government debt means lower economic growth, means fewer jobs.

"Our debt hangs over our economy like a wet blanket, smothering opportunity, making it harder to create an environment where good-paying jobs can thrive. It's one reason that the growth following the last recession has been so stubbornly sluggish compared to past recoveries. We just learned, in fact, that economic growth for the fourth quarter was a disappointing 2.6 percent, and 2.4 percent for all of 2014, basically the same slow growth we've had the over the past three years. In fact, the economy has only grown half as fast as previous economic recoveries. If it had been as strong as the historical average, our economy would have created ten million more jobs since the recession ended.

"This sluggish growth is hitting the American people where it hurts the most--right in our wallets. President Obama says the economy is back on track, but people aren't feeling it--and for good reason. Wages are flat, even declining, while costs--for healthcare, food, education--they're rising. The Middle Class squeeze is very real.

"In fact, since President Obama took office, middle class families have seen their incomes drop by an average of 8 percent. And half of that decline has occurred even after the experts told us the last recession was over.

"It's not just we're treading water; we're actually sinking. Something has to change.

"The President had an opportunity to begin to make that change in this new budget. He could have laid out policies that would put us back on track to balanced budgets and more economic growth. He could have cut waste, made our government more efficient and effective, and done all in his power to ensure that every single dollar of the taxes we pay is spent wisely. But he didn't, and that's why this new budget is so disappointing.

"Instead of policies intended to raise your paycheck, President Obama's budget raises taxes by $2.1 trillion. In fact, the President's budget proposal has the highest income tax burden on American families in our nation's history and even that can't keep up with his new spending.

"Instead of bringing us closer to living within our means, President Obama's plan includes $1 trillion in new government spending, adding $8.5 trillion to our national debt over the next decade.

"Instead of proposing polices that would help grow the economy, President Obama's budget grows the government. And his budget never balances. Not in five years. Not in ten years. Not ever.

"In a lot of respects, President Obama's budget is just more of the same. It's more taxes. It's more spending. It's more debt. More of the same big government policies that have failed time and time again to help folks reach their full potential and follow their dreams.

"We can and must do better.

"In the coming weeks, Republicans will unveil a very different budget. It'll be a budget that recognizes that every dollar the government spends comes out of the American people's pockets, either in the form of today's taxes or debt borrowed from the next generation.

"Our budget will cut waste. It will spend smarter, putting efficiency and effectiveness of government at the top of the agenda.

"It'll recognize that you already pay enough in taxes, and instead propose pro-growth policies that create an environment where good paying jobs can thrive. It'll put us back on the path towards the kind of balanced budgets you have the right to expect.

"American families have to balance their budget. American businesses do too. There's no reason the American government shouldn't have to do the same.

"A budget shouldn't be about scoring political points. It should be about making your priorities the government's priorities. That's what our budget will do. It will be a blueprint--not only for how the government spends our money each year--but for a brighter future of better jobs, higher wages, and greater opportunity for everyone.

"Thank you for listening, and may God continue to bless our great country."

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