After a three-week holiday break, the House of Representatives returned to session yesterday, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) marked the occasion with an op-ed detailing her “record of achievement” and outlining her agenda for the rest of the 111th Congress. Pelosi writes: “At the halfway mark in this Congress, our priorities are clear: strengthening the security of the American people and building a new economy that offers our families lasting prosperity.” But the 111th Congress is not the first Congress Speaker Pelosi has presided over. When Pelosi was first handed the gavel in January 2007, the U.S. economy employed 137.3 million people and our nation’s unemployment rate stood at 4.6%. According to the Labor Department’s most recent report, the U.S. economy has shed 6.3 million jobs since then, and 10% of our workforce is now unemployed.
Speaker Pelosi goes on to claim that President Barack Obama’s failed stimulus has “created or saved” 1.6 million jobs so far, but even the White House has abandoned its controversial “saved or created” jobs accounting scheme after more than 90,000 of the 640,000 jobs it claimed to create were found to be completely fraudulent. Pelosi then touts the Cash for Clunkers program as another success despite the fact the program did nothing to create auto sector jobs, led to a crash in auto sales, and did nothing to help the environment. Pelosi also celebrated the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which only further bankrupts our states and inched us ever closer to government-run health care.
Even worse then her past “accomplishments” is Speaker Pelosi’s future agenda, which basically calls for super-sizing the policy failures mentioned above. First on the agenda is President Obama’s health care plan which, like SCHIP, expands health insurance coverage through the welfare state. Both the House and Senate bills achieve over half of their health insurance expansion through Medicaid, which is a welfare program. The taxes and employer mandates used to pay for the expanded coverage are going to hit small businesses hard at a time when we desperately need them to be creating new jobs to move us out of recession.
After health care, Speaker Pelosi is promising continued action on the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation, which is built on the same failed policy ideas behind Cash for Clunkers. A Heritage Foundation analysis of the Waxman-Markey energy legislation found that for a household of four, energy costs (electric, natural gas, gasoline expenses) would rise by $436 in 2012 and by $1,241 by 2035, averaging $829 over that period. Higher energy costs would also increase the cost of many other products and services. Overall, Waxman-Markey would reduce gross domestic product by $393 billion annually and by a total of $9.4 trillion by 2035.
Finally, Pelosi promises “the most sweeping reform of the financial industry since the Great Depression.” But as Heritage fellow James Gattuso has previously demonstrated, the House financial overhaul bill would give financial regulators sweeping powers to control firms deemed “too big to fail” and establish a fund for FDIC to use to resolve the affairs of firms it takes over. The real-life effect of the new powers would be to signal to markets that firms are supported by the federal government and guaranteed against failure