I voted against the legislation that created the sequester. Congress ought to be creating jobs, not problems. I know that is what I came to Congress to do. And I believe that my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans alike, came to do that too.
But now, we stand at a decision point. We have to decide whether we are going to invest in the America we believe can be, or push ourselves into decline.
If we let the sequester go off, 750,000 people who would be hired will stay unemployed. Another 1.4 million people will find their jobs at risk. Nearly half of the expected job losses will come from small businesses. The sequester will cut this year’s economic growth in half.
Every daily round trip overseas flight at Los Angeles Airport generates approximately $623 million annually and provides 3,120 local jobs. But after the sequester cuts, the FAA will not be able to safely support the volume of flights that provides jobs we cannot afford to endanger.
We won’t just lose jobs today, we will damage our children’s ability to compete for the jobs of tomorrow. 70,000 children across the country would lose access to school readiness programs like Head Start. 600,000 struggling women and children will be dropped from the programs that keep nutritious food on their tables.
The cuts to education will impact more than 707,000 students in California alone.
That is not who we are, and that is not how we move our country forward.
Even before the damage of this decade’s worth of cuts, we have been increasingly out competed by rising nations that have been willing to make transformative investments in infrastructure and education. We are ceding our future to nations like China, South Korea and Brazil with our wrong-headed focus on attacking spending instead of the problems with our failing roads and schools.
Our tangled tax code rewards big firms shipping jobs overseas at the expense of the honest small businesses who cannot afford a high powered division of tax attorneys. That makes it harder for the small businesses creating jobs right here in America to compete, while the U.S. Treasury keeps writing multi-million dollar rebate checks to the big guys.
If we close the loopholes, and ensure that the wealthiest among us pay a fair share, we can fight the deficit and invest in our nation’s future.
Now is the time to invest in the America that we know we can achieve. Now is the time to put people to work building better bridges, stronger ports, and a speedy and efficient network for delivering our goods across the country and over the seas.
Now is the time to fire up the engines of American manufacturing, and push the power of high-speed internet into every community. Now is the time to stop leaving a generation of students behind, and a start giving our young people the support they need to seize the dreams we know they can make real.
It should be a simple choice: invest in our future, or let the sequester blow it up.
Time is running out.
Hahn is a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.