Skip to main content

Obama's slow growth economy isn't good enough

By John Thune, Special to CNN
April 3, 2013 -- Updated 1107 GMT (1907 HKT)
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
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1918 GMT (0318 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says as violence claims three U.S. doctors, the temptation is to despair, but aid to Afghanistan has made it a much better place
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1833 GMT (0233 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says in California, Asian-Americans are against the use of racial criteria in public colleges.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Heidi Schlumpf says if the Pope did tell an Argentinian woman married to a divorced man that she could take Communion, it may signify a softening of church rules on the divorced and sacraments
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1629 GMT (0029 HKT)
Norcross, Georgia, Chief of Police Warren Summers says the new law that allows guns in bars, churches and schools will have unintended dangerous consequences.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1742 GMT (0142 HKT)
Mel Robbins says social media is often ruled by haters, and people can be brutally honest.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1644 GMT (0044 HKT)
Mike Downey says the golf purists can take a hike; the game needs radical changes to win back fans and players.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
Robert Hickey says most new housing development is high-end, catering to high-earners.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Alexander Motyl says as Russian President Putin snarled at Ukraine, his foreign minister was signing a conciliatory accord with the West. Whatever the game, the accord is a major stand down by Russia
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Les Abend says at every turn, the stowaway teen defied the odds of discovery and survival. What pilot would have thought to look for a person in the wheel well?
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1104 GMT (1904 HKT)
Q & A with artist Rachel Sussman on her new book of photographs, "The Oldest Living Things in the World."
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1958 GMT (0358 HKT)
Martin Blaser says the overuse of antibiotics threatens to deplete our bodies of "good" microbes, leaving us vulnerable to an unstoppable plague--an "antibiotic winter"
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1737 GMT (0137 HKT)
John Sutter asks: Is it possible to eat meat in modern-day America and consider yourself an environmentalist without being a hypocrite?
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1538 GMT (2338 HKT)
Sally Kohn notes that Meb Keflezighi rightly was called an American after he won the Boston Marathon, but his status in the U.S. once was questioned
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1256 GMT (2056 HKT)
Denis Hayes and Scott Denman say on this Earth Day, the dawn of the Solar Age is already upon us and the Atomic Age of nuclear power is in decline
April 21, 2014 -- Updated 2036 GMT (0436 HKT)
Retired Coast Guard officer James Loy says a ship captain bears huge responsibility.
April 21, 2014 -- Updated 1708 GMT (0108 HKT)
Peter Bergen says the latest strikes are part of an aggressive U.S. effort to target militants, including a bomb maker
April 21, 2014 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
Cynthia Lummis and Peter Welch say 16 agencies carry out national intelligence, and their budgets are top secret. We need to know how they are spending our money.
April 21, 2014 -- Updated 1235 GMT (2035 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says President Obama knows more than anyone that he has much at stake in the midterm elections.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Eric Sanderson says if you really want to strike a blow for the environment--and your health--this Earth Day, work to get cars out of cities and create transportation alternatives
April 21, 2014 -- Updated 1408 GMT (2208 HKT)
Bruce Barcott looks at the dramatic differences in marijuana laws in Colorado and Louisiana
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 2047 GMT (0447 HKT)
Jim Bell says NASA's latest discovery supports the notion that habitable worlds are probably common in the galaxy.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1817 GMT (0217 HKT)
Jay Parini says even the Gospels skip the actual Resurrection and are sketchy on the appearances that followed.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1752 GMT (0152 HKT)
Graham Allison says if an unchecked and emboldened Russia foments conflict in a nation like Latvia, a NATO member, the West would have to defend it.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
John Sutter: Bad news, guys -- the pangolin we adopted is missing.
April 21, 2014 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Ben Wildavsky says we need a better way to determine whether colleges are turning out graduates with superior education and abilities.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
Charles Maclin, program manager working on the search and recovery of Malaysia Flight 370, explains how it works.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1250 GMT (2050 HKT)
Jill Koyama says Michael Bloomberg is right to tackle gun violence, but we need to go beyond piecemeal state legislation.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1845 GMT (0245 HKT)
Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts say Americans are ready for sensible gun laws, but politicians are cowed by the NRA. Everytown for Gun Safety will prove the NRA is not that powerful.
ADVERTISEMENT