Paul Ryan: Getting Back to Work

By Congressman Paul Ryan
Yesterday, President Obama signed into law H.R. 1 – the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Today, our recession is still with us, layoffs continue to mount, and the retirement savings of hard-working families continue to decline. While the consequences of this legislation remain to be seen, it is clear that many difficult days lie ahead. As Congress gets back to work, our focus should be on helping Americans get back to work.

I have argued against the efficacy of attempts to borrow and spend our way out of this recession. I believe that throwing borrowed money at a special interest wish list of dubious spending projects coupled with another round of rebate checks will not help in our economic recovery efforts, will not create jobs in Southern Wisconsin, and may actually make matters worse with a painful debt hangover for years to come. As governments around the world enact spending bills of their own, the global borrowing binge will force us to print more money as the economy continues to languish. I fear that we’re sowing the seeds of stagflation, and we’ll be watching a rising misery index – high inflation and high unemployment – in the years ahead.

I hope that I am wrong. I hope that the proponents of H.R. 1 are right. I hope that this unprecedented level of borrowing will not exacerbate our current crisis. The economic evidence, the economic fundamentals, the economic history suggests that we will be courting inflation, while doing little to turn our economy around. I hope that history and evidence are not the right guides.

While we missed an opportunity to enact a far better economic recovery package, but we must move forward. We must be vigilant in accounting for the hundreds of billions of dollars spent through H.R. 1 in an effort to reduce the inevitable waste and inefficiencies. We must address the urgent need for certainty and confidence, advance job-creating economic reforms, and provide additional assistance for those hit hardest by our deepening economic recession. We all have a stake in a timely economic recovery, and I will continue to work toward positive solutions on behalf of those I serve in Southern Wisconsin.

Congressman Paul Ryan serves Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District. To contact him by phone in Washington, D.C., call (202) 225-3031. Or visit Paul Ryan at

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Paul Ryan