Two years ago today, the White House announced the start of what it called the "Recovery Summer." This initiative was supposed to prove to the American people that stimulus projects were creating jobs.
If the administration had spent less time trying to justify the failed stimulus and more time on policies that work, the summer of 2012 might be the real recovery summer.
Instead, millions of Americans are still waiting for the economic rebound they were promised.
We've had 40 straight months with unemployment over 8 percent. More than 23 million Americans are unemployed or working less than they would like. Unemployed Americans now spend an average of nearly 40 weeks looking for work. That's the equivalent of losing your job on New Year's Day and not working again until October.
Meanwhile, President Obama recently offered his opinion that the private sector is doing fine. It's only government jobs, he said, that have been lagging. He called on Congress to spend even more taxpayer dollars on unproven programs.
Americans want the private sector to create good long-term jobs, not the government to create more wasteful Solyndras.
It's clear who really has been hurt by the Obama economy. We've lost 433,000 manufacturing jobs, 79,000 real estate jobs, 160,000 telecommunications jobs and 932,000 construction jobs.
Behind all these numbers are people. A homebuilder. A phone salesman in the mall. A real estate agent in the community.
These are real people who've lost the private-sector jobs that their families rely on to put food on the table, a roof over their heads and their kids through college. Republicans are focused on solutions that make it cheaper and easier for the private sector to create jobs.
We need to end job-killing overregulation and make our tax code simpler, flatter and fairer for every American. President Obama recently admitted that not every regulation is smart. So why doesn't he get rid of the bad ones?
We must repeal the president's health care law and its expensive mandates. Small-business owners now face a difficult choice: offer high-cost, government-approved insurance that hampers their growth, or don't offer any coverage at all. That's not a choice Washington should force on Americans. It's time to replace this law with step-by-step reforms that actually reduce costs for businesses and families.
We should also support energy projects that strengthen our energy security and create good jobs. The first thing the White House could do is approve the Keystone XL pipeline. If President Obama would allow that one private-sector construction project, it would create thousands of jobs almost immediately.
Republicans have put a wide array of options on the table that will help create a healthy economy. Thirty jobs bills have passed the House of Representatives on bipartisan votes. Democrats in the Senate have refused even to consider the bills. President Obama remains silent on them.
During a campaign speech in Ohio on Thursday, the president continued to dodge responsibility and leadership. He spoke for 54 minutes but said nothing we haven't heard before. In one line after another, he said it was all someone else's fault. He said he needs another four years to keep following the path he's been on.
America cannot afford four more years like the last three and a half.
President Obama faced a difficult economic situation when he took office in 2009. His failed policies have contributed to lower wages, weaker growth, higher unemployment and more people in poverty.
It's time for a permanent recovery in America -- not a fake "Recovery Summer."
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., is an orthopedic Surgion