The economic recovery from the recession of 2008 has been the slowest, statistically, since the Great Depression, House Budget Committee chairman Tom Price said at a lecture onWednesday.
Price, a former orthopedic surgeon, began his political career in 1997, and is currently the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s sixth congressional district. He has served in Congress as a member of the Republican Party since 2004.
Price pointed out that even though the unemployment rate has declined to five percent since the stock market crash of 2008, the growth vitality of the economy and of the individual American has not significantly recovered. Sixteen percent of Americans and 20 percent of American children live in poverty, and real income has actually decreased by six percent.
The economy is not rolling as it normally would after an economic downturn because of ever-increasing national debt, Price said.
“The federal government ought not to be able to spend money it doesn’t have over, and over, and over again,” said Price, noting that the case might be different if the country were sitting on smaller amounts of debt."A nation [that] has gotten as far as we have has two options — the nation can either solve the problem themselves, or someone else will solve it for them."
The three greatest factors that depress the U.S. economy are taxes, regulation and litigation expenses, Price said.In response, he listed three options for solving the national deficit: increasing taxes, decreasing government spending or growing the national economy.
Price argued that growing the national economy best provides the economic vitality that the U.S. needs. He noted that this option was embodied in the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act, which he introduced to Congress and which passed in 2014.
Price voiced a set of even more fundamental criteria that must be met on the parts of both the government and the citizens for America to begin a speedier uphill tread.
First, citizens must participate in the political process, he said.
"Our system only works if everyone is involved. We can only be representatives of the people when people engage us," Price said. "Being informed and voting, that’s the minimum."
Secondly, he said Americans must demand honesty in the numbers being told to them.
"The numbers are stark and the numbers are real, so there isn’t a reason we should be disagreeing on numbers," Price explained.
As a final imperative, he said Americans should require the media to do its job. He noted that the press currently shows much more of an advocacy mission than a mission to educate the public.
Price said he has optimism for America’s capability to reform and move onto a better and brighter future.
“We believe in the greatest number of opportunities, the greatest amount of success for the greatest number of Americans — so that the greatest number of American dreams can be realized,” he said.
The talk on budgetary politics and policy took place at4:30 p.m.in Frist 302 and was sponsored by the Princeton Tory and the Department of Politics.