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Unemployment

Sen. Jon Kyl

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Mr. President, I would like to talk about two subjects briefly this afternoon. The first is the relatively bad news about unemployment in the country; the fact that the latest numbers are out and the country has not produced as many jobs as had been hoped for.

In fact, it added only 54,000 payroll jobs in May and thereby fell short of the 130,000 to 150,000 which are needed each month just to keep pace with population growth. So we lost ground. As a result, the unemployment rate has now gone back up to 9.1 percent.

It is not just the lack of jobs but also other economic news. Factory orders were down 1.2 percent in April, so we are not growing there. Interestingly, the Home Price Index, which is something very important in my State, the S&P Case-Schiller Home Price Index edged down .2 percent in March and is now 3.5 percent from this time a year ago.

All of these and other pieces of the news present a very bleak picture for economic recovery. One of the interesting commentators on this is Michael Barone, who is well known to most of us involved in political work. He had an interesting op-ed today in the Washington Examiner with the unfortunate title, ``Obama Tunes Out, and Business Goes on Hiring Strike.'' The problem is, there is some information to back up the title of his piece. He is reflecting on government policies the last couple of years such as growing government spending as a percent of GDP, which has gone up from 21 percent to 25 percent.

So we have been expanding government borrowing and spending at the same time as the economy is depressed. That included the time in which the failed stimulus plan was supposed to have provided economic growth and job creation. It also included the time of the health care entitlement, the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, and so on. So let me quote from the piece. He said:

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the threat of tax increases and increased regulatory burdens have produced something in the nature of a hiring strike.

In relation to the President's speech at George Washington University, where the President had sort of repackaged his Federal budget, Barone says:

The message to job creators was clear. Hire at your own risk. Higher taxes, more burdensome regulation, and crony capitalism may be here for some time to come.

I ask unanimous consent to have the article by Michael Barone dated June 6, 2011, printed in the Record at the conclusion of my remarks.

Without objection, it is so ordered.

(See exhibit 1.)