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 6:45 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
LZ Granderson says the cyber-standing ovation given to Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus-size model who posted unretouched photos, shows how crazy Americans' notions of beauty have become
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
A crisis like the Gaza conflict or the surge of immigrants can be an opportunity for a lame duck president, writes Julian Zelizer
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Carol Costello says the league's light punishment sent the message that it didn't consider domestic violence a serious offense
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Danny Cevallos says saggy pants aren't the kind of fashion statement protected by the First Amendment.
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Margaret Hoover says some GOP legislators support a state's right to allow same-sex marriage and the right of churches, synagogues and mosques not to perform the sacrament
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Priya Satia says today's drones for bombardment and surveillance have their roots in the deadly history of Western aerial control of the Middle East that began in World War One
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
updated 6:25 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
updated 11:33 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Ruti Teitel says assigning a costly and humiliating "collective guilt" to Germany after WWI would end up teaching the global community hard lessons about who to blame for war crimes
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
updated 6:05 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 2:53 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT