DEAR MR. PRESIDENT,
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Welcome to the Commonwealth, the home of thousands of hard-working families, small-business owners and innovators who are the job creators in our state. Listening to these individuals, I’ve come to believe that America faces three great challenges: jobs, debt, and a deficit of trust.
Currently, Massachusetts has an 8.3 percent unemployment rate. While we are better off than some other states, too many Massachusetts citizens are still looking for work.
Massachusetts has the foundation for job creation in industries ranging from health care start-ups to manufacturing, technology, and finance, but our entrepreneurs need a better business environment to have confidence to expand, buy a new piece of equipment, or hire that extra worker. That is why we must reduce tax rates and give businesses more long-term certainty about the tax code.
Higher taxes mean fewer jobs, and America has the second-highest corporate tax rate of any industrialized country. When Japan reduces its tax rate, we’ll have the dubious distinction of being number one. We need to improve the incentives for businesses to create jobs here in America. A bipartisan bill I’ve introduced, the Brown-Klobuchar Innovate America Act, would cut through the red tape that’s holding back our manufacturers and boost science and technology innovation.
Small business owners are also worried about over-regulation. The fishing industry in Massachusetts should be thriving and creating jobs for coastal families. Instead, about 60 percent of our fishing boats are idle, due to the Commerce Department’s draconian regulations that are strangling the fishing industry with a catch-share policy that isn’t based on sound science. In your State of the Union address, you called for a review of all federal rules and regulations. But we need actions and soon. I have introduced a bill to reform these restrictions and breathe life into these communities, which I hope you will support.
Growing our economy will require Washington to stop its binge spending habits. At every level — local, state, and federal — the government is saddled with too much debt, and more borrowing goes on the national credit card every single day. You said that you would veto bills containing earmarks, and that’s a good start. But unfortunately, old Washington habits are hard to break. The budget you proposed in February would almost double the debt in 10 years to $27 trillion. By 2025, tax revenues will only cover interest payments, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Every other federal government activity — from national defense to education — will have to be paid for with borrowed money, which will be added to the tabs of our children and future generations.
The current budget debate is an opportunity to finally prioritize our spending. A Government Accountability Office investigation just uncovered a staggering amount of waste and duplication in the federal government. That’s where we should start. Year after year, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars that we never monitor or evaluate. We don’t need 26 federal programs doing the same thing. Cutting wasteful spending will mean fewer cuts to worthy programs, like low-income heating assistance, education, or jobs and housing for our returning veterans.
Finally, Washington has lost the faith of the American people. If we are going to tackle the huge challenges of creating jobs and addressing the debt, the American people need to be able to trust Washington again. Shining a light on our spending habits is the first step. I just introduced a bipartisan bill with Senator Bill Nelson of Florida that would require the IRS to provide an itemized “receipt’’ showing taxpayers exactly how the federal government spends our money every year and how much new debt we’re putting on the national credit card. This effort will lead to more government transparency.
Creating jobs, growing our economy, and cutting wasteful spending are too important to let partisan politics get in the way. There is a D next to your name and an R next to mine. And while we don’t always agree, I hope we can work together to support pro-growth policies that will put people back to work and make the hard choices necessary to lead our country toward a fiscally responsible path so we can once again lead the world.
Scott Brown is a US senator from Massachusetts
2011 Canning Bowl Beer Pong Champion!