Skip to main content

Obama's slow growth economy isn't good enough

By John Thune, Special to CNN
updated 7:07 AM EDT, Wed April 3, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sen. John Thune: President Obama is late submitting budget to Congress
  • He says White House isn't serious about government living by a budget
  • He says higher taxes, more regulations, higher debt are hurting economic recovery
  • Thune: Recovery from recession under Obama is much slower than under Reagan

Editor's note: Sen. John Thune, a Republican, represents South Dakota. He is chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and a member of the Finance Committee.

Washington (CNN) -- As the House and the Senate debated and passed budgets recently, one person was notably absent from the debate: President Barack Obama.

For the fourth time in five years, the president is late submitting his budget to Congress. So late, in fact, this year both the House and Senate were forced to move forward without him, rendering the president's budget request completely irrelevant.

Unfortunately, the president's tardiness is reflective of his fundamental lack of seriousness when it comes to budgeting. Families and businesses have to ensure that their spending, including their debt payments, doesn't exceed their income, but the president acts as if he doesn't think that should apply to the federal government.

Recently, when speaking about his budget (which the White House says will be out next week, a full two months after the deadline), the president said that he didn't want "to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance." Well, perhaps he should chase a balanced budget for the sake of our economy.

John Thune
John Thune
Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



For four years now, the president's agenda has been out-of-control spending, massive tax hikes on Americans and burdensome regulations on job creators. Since the president took office, we've seen more than $1.7 trillion in new tax hikes, $518 billion in new regulations, and $6 trillion added to the national debt.

The impact of those policies has not been pretty.

Economic growth under this president has averaged just 0.8%. That isn't anywhere close to the 5% growth needed for a real recovery.

While it's certainly true that the president inherited a bad economy, it's important to note that he inherited it more than four years ago. What has he been doing since?

Let's put this in perspective. Ronald Reagan inherited a bad economy. But Reagan put in place growth-oriented economic policies such as fundamental tax reform and fewer regulations, which turned the economy around.

During the Reagan recovery, the economy grew nearly three times as fast as it has under Obama's watch. During the fourth year of Reagan's presidency, the economy experienced robust 7.2% growth. In contrast, the fourth year of Obama's presidency produced economic growth of just 2.2%. If the Obama recovery were as strong as Reagan's, our economy would be $1.5 trillion larger today -- meaning more jobs, more opportunity, and more take-home pay for Americans.

Budget cuts hit Washington economy hard

The fact is Obama's spending, tax and regulatory policies are smothering economic recovery, jobs and opportunity.

Just take the president's $2.6 trillion health care overhaul signed into law three years ago. The Federal Reserve recently issued a report stating employers in several regions are laying off workers and cutting back on new hires as a direct result of the president's health care law.

Four years into the president's term, 12 million Americans are still out of work and the labor force participation rate has declined to 63.5%. Americans are becoming so discouraged in the Obama economy that they simply stop looking for work. If the labor force participation rate today were the same as when the president took office, the real unemployment rate would be 10.7%.

Yet despite the abysmal failures of the president's policies, he continues to argue for more of the same.

It's time to try something new: Time to balance the budget, rein in Washington's dangerous levels of spending and unleash economic growth by expanding energy production being held back by the Obama administration, such as the Keystone XL pipeline. It's time to cut excessive government red tape strangling our small businesses and to truly reform our tax code to make rates lower and fairer for all Americans.

We should be taking an honest look at the relationship between the president's policies and economic growth. The president's tax hikes, runaway spending and onslaught of new and burdensome regulations are preventing a real economic recovery.

It's time for the president to get out of the way of the American people and let our economy take off. It's time to do better than 0.8% growth.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Thune.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:20 PM EDT, Sat September 13, 2014
Joe Torre and Esta Soler say much has been achieved since a landmark anti-violence law was passed.
updated 4:55 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
David Wheeler wonders: If Scotland votes to secede, can America take its place and rejoin England?
updated 6:07 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Jane Stoever: Society must grapple with a culture in which 1 in 3 teen girls and women suffer partner violence.
updated 4:36 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking recently said the world as we know it could be obliterated instantaneously. Meg Urry says fear not.
updated 6:11 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Bill Clinton's speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president in 1992 went through 22 drafts. But he always insisted on including a call to service.
updated 6:18 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Joe Amon asks: What turns a few cases of disease into thousands?
updated 3:22 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
A Scottish vote for independence next week could trigger wave of separatist tension in Europe, says Frida Ghitis.
updated 6:12 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
You couldn't call him a "Bond villain" in the grand context of Dr. No or Auric Goldfinger. They were twisted visionaries of apocalypse whose ideas were to be played out at humanity's expense.
updated 1:05 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
As a Latina activist I was hurt to hear the President would delay executive action to keep undocumented immigrants with no criminal record from getting deported.
updated 1:21 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Sally Kohn says bombing ISIS will worsen instability in Iraq and strengthen radical ideology in terrorist groups.
updated 6:24 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Stevan Weine says the key is to stop young people from acquiring radicalized beliefs in the first place.
updated 1:30 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Analysts weigh in on the president's plans for addressing the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
updated 8:27 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
US Currency is seen in this January 30, 2001 image. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
Lisa Gilbert says a million people have asked the SEC to make corporations disclose political contributions.
updated 12:55 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Christi Paul says unless you've walked in an abused woman's shoes, don't judge her, help her get answers to the right questions: Why does he get to hit her? And why does nobody do anything to stop him?
updated 3:32 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Mel Robbins says several other NFL players arrested recently in domestic violence are back on the field. Roger Goodell has shown he is clueless on abuse. He must go.
updated 1:59 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Newt Gingrich says President Obama has a remarkable opportunity Wednesday night to mobilize support for a coalition against ISIS.
updated 8:41 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
The Texas senator says Obama should seek congressional authorization for a major bombing campaign vs. ISIS.
updated 9:27 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Artist Prune Nourry's project reinterprets the terracotta warriors in an exhibition about gender preference in China.
updated 9:36 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
The Apple Watch is on its way. Jeff Yang asks: Are we ready to embrace wearables technology at last?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT