Nebraska Congressman Adrian Smith says efforts to lift the country out of the lingering effects of the recession need to concentrate on encouraging private sector job growth.
“The jobs numbers released this morning, obviously, were disappointing with an increase in the unemployment rate,” Smith tells reporters during a conference call. “I believe that we need to get Americans back to work, producing growth that this country needs through the private sector. That’s certainly what our country has done best over time.”
The Labor Department reports the economy generated only 18,000 net jobs in June. That anemic growth drove the unemployment rate up to 9.2%
Smith says the latest job numbers further convince him for the need to reach trade agreements with key allies. Smith, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, has helped with the informal mark-up of draft legislation to implement trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea, a key step to full committee consideration of the legislation.
Smith says Nebraska farmers would benefit greatly from relaxed trade standards with the countries.
“One of the most significant points is, for example, the South Korea trade agreement would eliminate the 40% tariff that they currently have on US read meat,” according to Smith. “Obviously, that’s good for consumers over in South Korea when US meat could conceivably be 40% less expensive at the counter.”
While the creation of jobs should be the top selling point, national security also is at stake, according to Smith. He says the United States needs to support countries like Columbia, which he says has benefitted from US taxpayer dollars in its fight against the illegal drug traffic and provides a counter-balance to Venezuela’s anti-American sentiments.