SAN DIMAS, CALIF. — In an election season as rancorous as this one, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to discern the truth. Attack ads and dramatic prognostications tend to obscure reality.
Here are some hard facts that have received little attention: In the past year alone, job creation is up, the unemployment rate is down, the stock market is up – way up, gas prices are down and continuing to drop, real average weekly income is up, and the federal deficit is down dramatically. This is all very good news for you, your family, and your future.
Did all of this good news happen by accident? Of course not. It's the result of growth- oriented economic policies put in place by the Republican Congress and President Bush. In 2001 and 2003, with minimal support from Democrats, we approved major tax relief for families, investors, and small-business owners.
That tax relief has paid off. Since August 2003, they have helped create 6.6 million jobs and fueled a 31 percent increase in the value of the blue-chip stock market. They have also driven down the federal deficit, thanks to increased revenues to the federal treasury, which were 14.5 percent higher in 2005 from the year before and 11.8 percent higher in 2006.
This is all very good news. Yet to hear some Democrats tell it, we're facing an economic crisis of historic proportions. Their solution to the impending "crisis" is to raise taxes of all kinds – income taxes, investment taxes, death taxes, even gas taxes. House Republicans could not disagree more. We believe we should build on the economic growth we're seeing now by making these tax cuts permanent. The question of taxes is just one example of the critical choice voters face this fall. One party wants to keep taxes low and the other wants to raise them. It's just that simple.
Another key issue is the fight against terrorism. No one needs to be reminded of the horrific attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But what does seem to get lost in the political fray is the remarkable fact that our homeland has not been attacked since that terrible day. Again, this is no accident.
Since that attack, we have gone on the offense against terrorism here at home and abroad. We have broken down the wall that prevented law enforcement and intelligence agencies from communicating about the internal threats we face with the USA Patriot Act. We have taken necessary steps to ensure that our intelligence agencies can track terrorist communications before they attack, rather than waiting for the next one to take place.
We have dramatically increased security at our ports, airports, and infrastructure across the country. And we have made significant investments in getting our border under control by increasing the number of agents on patrol and detention beds available to hold illegal immigrants.
At the same time, we have deposed two terrorist-sponsoring regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq and are working to help those countries rebuild their infrastructures devastated by years of totalitarian reign. One of the most important lessons of 9/11 is that establishing allies in the heart of the Middle East is essential to preventing the spread of state-sponsored terrorism.
Is the struggle difficult? Incredibly. Is the fight necessary? Absolutely. Staying engaged in this fight is critical and here again, voters face a choice. Do we confront the danger we face and stay ahead of the threat by adapting to the enemy and its tactics? Or do we admit defeat and roll back the tools we've used to stay safe here at home for more than five years? House Republicans believe we need to stay in the fight.
In the past few years, all Americans have faced real challenges, ranging from the war to catastrophic hurricanes. But these challenges do not change, nor should they diminish, the fundamental facts about our economy and our progress in the war on terror. As the election draws closer, take a break from the rhetoric and consider the facts. They clearly demonstrate that the Republican approach is working for America.
• David Dreier (R) of California is chairman of the House Rules Committee.