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e-News November 23, 2009

A Job Boom for New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District
                             Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11)

                      (As Submitted to the Daily Record of Morris County)

I was interested to read the recent Daily Record editorial “Chris Christie and stimulus money” advising the Governor-elect that “he has no choice but to accept federal cash.”

While I have no quarrel with that argument, I would caution the editors to be very careful about accepting as “gospel” the figures the Obama Administration uses to prove that its trillion dollar stimulus bill has created actual jobs. 

For the last several months, the Administration has reported that its stimulus spending was creating a virtual cascade of new jobs.  However, the more we learn about the Administration’s “jobs created or saved” methodology and the information it posts for public consumption on its website, the more skeptical we should become. 

For example, the Administration claimed, and the Daily Record dutifully reported, that the stimulus bill had spent over $101 million in the 11th Congressional District, which created 74.9 jobs.  Well, even if you agree that the federal government should be borrowing $1.35 million for every job created, you might want to question the accuracy of the Administration’s figures.

Here’s why:

According to the Administration’s own website, Recovery.com, 384 jobs have been saved or created in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District with just $2,027,303 in federal stimulus spending.

New Jersey has only 13 Congressional districts.

The website also reported that over $7 million in ‘stimulus’ funding was spent to create 52 jobs in the New Jersey’s 00th district.  Yes, that correct, the 00th Congressional District!

The Administration also claimed to have spent stimulus funds in 16 other Congressional Districts that do not exist.

We can hope that these are isolated incidents of bad information, but there seems to be an unacceptable trend developing. The Administration has a serious responsibility to ensure that the data it releases is accurate and reliable.  Whether the numbers are good news or bad news, the American people deserve an honest accounting.  Isn’t this completely consistent with the Daily Record’s mantra of open records and transparency?

And they deserve action that creates high quality private sector jobs. 

Since the recession's start in December 2007, the Department of Labor reports the number of lost payroll jobs totals 6.9 million. A third of today's jobless have been unemployed for more than six months.  That is nearly double the share of the jobless population just one year ago and a post-World War II high.

While the nation’s “official” unemployment rate stands at 10.2 percent, the unemployment and "underemployment" rate now exceeds 17 percent -- this includes the officially unemployed plus all part-time workers who want full-time jobs, as well as job-seekers who dropped completely out of the job hunt. 

The Administration and Congress should be working aggressively together to find more effective ways to spur private sector job creation. 

The first "rule of holes" is that when you’re in one, stop digging.  Congress should not pass Speaker Pelosi’s massively expensive health care bill because, using a formula developed by White House’s own economist, Christina Romer, it could kill as many as 5.5 million jobs!

Next, we have to stop spending borrowed federal dollars like there is no tomorrow!  Since control of Congress changed hands in 2007, appropriations spending has jumped by 41 percent making the government more dependent on new taxing and new borrowing! And that does not even include the “stimulus” dollars and other “emergency” measures the Congress has approved this year!

Having done that, Congress should immediately:

  • Allow small businessmen and women to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income.
  • Let small businesses join together to purchase health insurance for their workers the way large businesses and labor unions do.
  • Lower taxes for all taxpayers by reducing the current 15 percent income tax rate to 10 percent and reducing the current 10 percent rate to 5 percent.  This will provide an immediate increase in income to every taxpaying family in America and free up capital to help small businesses hire more workers.

These provisions were included in Republican amendments I supported to the so-called “stimulus” bill or Speaker Pelosi’s health care bill.   They represent a good place to “stop digging.”

American families and small businesses continue to struggle. High unemployment rates are getting higher. The so-called "stimulus" is not working.  So it is past time that Democrats and Republicans work on policies that promote private sector job creation in America and help get our economy moving again.