Make It in America: The Economyby Representative John Garamendi
Posted on 2013-03-12
GARAMENDI. Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.
I am John Garamendi from California, and I am joined by several of my colleagues here tonight. We want to go through a couple of things that are of the utmost importance to Americans. I had three townhalls on Saturday in California--it was about a 450-mile drive to get to all three of them--but at each and every one of them the concerns were very, very similar.
The first overriding concern was the economy. In California, there is this desire to get the economy going. There is a pent-up energy in the people--in the businesses, in the small businesses, in the farmers. It's not just because it's spring and the almonds are blossoming--or maybe it's the ``a-munds'' depending on what part of my district you're from. It's that there is this desire to get moving forward.
They keep asking me, What's going on in Congress? Why can't you guys get it together out there? And we explained what's happening here.
We have been through five crises over the last 18 months-- manufactured crises, things that didn't have to happen. Each and every time, the entire system of America's economy and politics comes to a stop, and we lurch up to that fateful cliff, and then we move on but not with the kind of robust energy that this economy is capable of. We need to get this continuing resolution and all of these fiscal cliffs out of the way to get the economy moving, and there are some very, very good examples of why the economy is poised to take off.
[[Page H1344]] One of them is found here. If you take a look at this chart, these are the job creations or losses beginning way back in 2009, 2008. All of those red lines are the collapse of the economy. When the blue came in, that's when President Obama came in 4 years ago, and things were tough. We were in a free fall here in our economy; but with the stimulus bill, we began to climb out. After about 18 months, we began to see positive job growth--we were no longer seeing those job losses-- and we've seen that all the way through. This last month was a terrific month. There were 247,000 new jobs created, and that was in February.
So what happens in March? In March, we come up against another cliff; and now we have sequestration, leaving us 750,000 unemployed Americans. It's not a gain in the economy. The unemployment rate went down to 7.7 percent in the previous month, and now we have sequestration. We passed a bill out of here last week that was supposed to solve it. It really didn't. In fact, it maintained sequestration. It took care of a few things, but we've got to get past this. We need to grow this economy, and we need to make the investments. There are really only five critical investments that need to be made year after year after year, and we need to do these things repeatedly--every month, every year, in every budget: Education--sequestration cuts education at all levels; Research--sequestration cuts research. In my district, at the University of California at Davis, $45 million of research projects will come to a screeching halt. Ph.D.s and others will be laid off; Infrastructure--sequestration cuts infrastructure. Manufacturing matters. You've got to make things; Those are the four. The fifth is you have to be willing to change, but you've got to change in a positive way.
What we're going to talk about with my colleagues here is this issue of how to move the economy forward. As we look at the past and at the success--modest, not enough, but on the right track--we need to keep in mind that it is the role of the government, dating back to George Washington and Alexander Hamilton when Washington asked Hamilton to develop an industrial plan for the United States and Hamilton did. He laid out in that plan the critical role of government in moving the American economy forward, and that was in the very first year of these United States. We should carry that tradition forward. So as we go into this, let's keep in mind that we've made progress and that we have much more to do.
Joining me tonight is a gentleman who has created many, many jobs, and now he has a new one. He is a Member of Congress from the great State of Maryland, and it's Mr. Delaney.
Thank you very much for joining us. You have an exciting district. You have a considerable amount of high-tech in your district.