Speeches and Floor Statements
Speech on the Economy
House of Representatives
(a video of the speech can be found here)
Ladies and gentlemen of America and this Congress, our economy is struggling, and nowhere is it struggling more than in the area of unemployment and joblessness, and, correspondingly, with home foreclosures and the value of our housing stock going down. Those are the two very serious points on the compass that we have got to declare an emergency situation on because they are both so very related. If a man does not have a job or a young lady does not have a job, how can they stay in their home?
And so I want to just talk for a few minutes about, one, you really can't figure how to get out of a situation unless you stop and you think of how you got into it. The one thing I've noticed about people who have lost their sight, they may need a little help as they come to get into a room, but I will tell you, that person without his sight feels his way of how he got into that room; and how he gets out of that room, he can feel his way back out. So it might do well for us just to pause for a moment.
We go back to our economic downturn. There were some failures that we made. We rushed--rightfully so, in many respects--to bail out Wall Street, to bail out America's big business structure. We did that. We had to unfreeze the credit markets on Wall Street in order to keep it moving. But if there is one thing we learned from our previous, very challenging economic difficulties--and the most recent one being the Depression. We got out of that Depression by not only making sure that our big companies, making sure that Wall Street and our bankers and our investors and our multinational corporations were able to survive. Our failure was that we did nothing to help Main Street at the same time.
The one thing we learned in the Depression is, yes, you have to do both: You've got to put money up at the top, you've got to put it in the middle of the economic stream and at the lower end of the economic stream, because you have to get people spending money. Jobs are created when people spend money.
We are a mass consumption society, which means our economy moves not on the wealthy being able to go buy a car; our economy moves on thousands and millions of people being able to buy the car, to buy the clothes, to buy the food in the restaurants. Our failure to do that. And so we had a top-down economic recovery instead of a top, middle, and bottom at the same time.
So here we are. And that's why right now our multi-corporations are having staggering profits. Our CEOs are making huge salaries and bonuses, all that we helped. And I don't begrudge them. I am a believer in capitalism. I graduated from the citadel of capitalism, the Wharton School of Finance. I am a businessman. So I don't begrudge that, but what I do begrudge is our failure to help the little fellow. Now we're beginning to do that.
But what we must do is realize that all of this time, we're in this recovery now for almost 3 years, and we have 13 million Americans without work. We have a national unemployment of 8.7 percent. It's coming down. Some of our policies are working. In my own State of Georgia, our unemployment rate is a staggering 9.9 percent--563 Georgians are without work.
And so that means that we're not doing enough. There are certain areas we can work in. For example, we need to evaluate the programs that we say we have put out there to help with the unemployment level.
Now, we know we have put a program together which will give corporations a 6 percent reduction or a reduction of their part of the payroll tax if they hire an unemployed person. Well, where is the report card on that? How is that doing? That's one of the things that we need to get; we need measurement to see how successful it really is.
We need to also look to the future and look at what policies we can put together with corporations, because what we're doing is not enough. I would submit that wouldn't it be interesting and wouldn't it be worthy of consideration.
We know, for example, that we have just about the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Clearly our multinational, our largest corporations, our largest employers want to see that corporate tax rate come down. Many are wanting it to come down to 25 percent. I am on the side of taking a look at that, because we don't want to have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. It hurts our marketplace. It hurts everything. We know that. That is an issue.
But if we know these multinational corporations are having a record now of outsourcing jobs, should we not have a conversation with them at the table? Okay, you want your corporate tax rate reduced? Let's talk about how you can stop sending jobs out of this country. We need Americans who are working at American jobs in America.
I think that these large employers and corporations with these international markets will be willing to sit down and say, you know what, in exchange for us getting our corporate tax rate down, here's what we can do to start bringing in our manufacturing and bring it back to America so that we can make things in America. One of the reasons we've got such a high jobless rate is because we don't make anything here anymore. Manufacturing is the main source of jobs. We lost that.
Well, we can use this as an incentive to these companies. Say, okay, we can bring that corporate tax rate down; but we want you to bring those jobs back here, and we want you to start making things in this country. Let's look out for America, look out for us. That is something that we can do.
And so, Madam Congresslady from the Virgin Islands, you're doing a wonderful job with this. This is the number one issue facing this country. I can't tell you how desperate people become when they can't find work. I can't tell you how depressed people become when people are used to working and they wake up every morning with no place to go. Or they have to make certain decisions and some can't find food or buy the food to feed their families. That is the situation we're in with these 13 million American people.
We can do better. We've got to evaluate what we're doing, and we've got to put more creative things on the table, such as the corporate tax rate. Let us tie that to corporations bringing these jobs back and doing what they can to help turn our country back into a manufacturing base.
When you lose your capacity--when this country lost its capacity to be the leader of the world in making things, we lost a lot. And by George, we need to get it back. And that's the way America will survive, and that's the way we'll bring this unemployment rate down.
Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Thank you, Congressman Scott. I thank you for calling attention to the need to restore the manufacturing base in this country as the Democrats are attempting to do with our Make It in America agenda. And thank you for reminding everyone that Main Street is still not taken care of and that there is a critical connection between the jobs crisis and the housing crisis and why they need to be dealt with now as an emergency.
click here to watch a video of the speech