|Fri, Aug 01, 2014 01:52 PM
June 04, 2014 | 10:46 AM
Despite an "unacceptably high" unemployment rate and "stagnant" income levels for middle-class people, Indiana Ninth District Congressman Todd Young said he is "bullish on the future of America."
"Let's face it, ... we're in the process of a recovery," said the Republican who hails from Bloomington and is in his second term in office. "It's time to think about solutions."
Indiana Ninth District Congressman Todd Young receives a gift from Lisa Long, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County, following his speech at the Chamber's annual meeting May 15 at Horseshoe Southern Indiana in Bridgeport. Photo by Alan Stewart
Young was the guest speaker at the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County's annual meeting on May 15 at Horseshoe Southern Indiana in Bridgeport.
While many may expect those serving in Congress to turn around the economy, Young said, "Washington doesn't have all the answers."
He said the answer is going to come from "entrepreneurs, dreamers and doers."
The budget, which includes $18 trillion of debt, was mentioned.
Young said that 2/3 of the budget is spent on "mandatory programs" such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
"We have an aging population," he said. "People are living longer and are healthier."
He mentioned companies like Areva Pharmaceuticals Inc., which recently completed a 60,000-square-foot warehouse near Lanesville that Young had visited earlier in the day, help play a part in people living longer.
"We need to figure out responsible and creative ways to balance the budget," Young said. "Criticizing the other guy's plan is not a plan."
While speaking about the Affordable Care Act, Young said Congress should repeal some of the "worst provisions" of it and "restore" the 40-hour work week for employees."
"Some of the most vulnerable employees are losing hours" so employers don't have to provide them with medical insurance, he said.
And the Medical Device Act, which allows for a tax on the sales of devices, is causing businesses like the Cook Group, based in Bloomington but with a presence in southern Harrison County, to relocate overseas.
"Europe is now a better place to do business," Young said.
With regard to international trade, the Congressman said, "We need to open up foreign markets."
And about tax policies, he said the country needs to have lower rates (the United States has the highest, at 35 percent, Young said) and "simplier" codes.
"It's time for tax reform," he said. "It's time for bold changes."
Young talked briefly about bi-partisanship projects, such as energy efficiency, "which doesn't get much press," and how he and several other members of Congress from both parties meet as the "No Labels" group.
After saying he's "very optimistic" about the future of the country, Young said, "We Americans have been proving the pessimists wrong for 280 years ... We have so much going for us. We will turn this country around."
Young encouraged those with issues to contact his office, which was recently voted the third most-accessible of the 500 across the nation.
Lisa Long, president of the Chamber, presented Young with the speaker's gift.
Susan Pierson, the board chair, presented the Chairman's Award for Community Service to the YMCA of Harrison County, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
Highlighting some of its offerings, such as swim lessons, Grief Share support group and chaplain services, Pierson said the award "goes to all those visionaries" who were dedicated to seeing the facility become a reality.
"What a surprise," Roger Corley, the Y's CEO who accepted the award, said on behalf of "all those who came before me, for their sweat and tears."
He encouraged everyone to visit the Y.
"Come check us out," Corley said. "Good things are happening, and there's more to come."
Before presenting the Chairman's Award, Pierson highlighted some of the Chamber's accomplishments in 2013, such as the formation of Connect Harrison County Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to obtain high-speed Internet infrastructure and expand services here, then spoke about the goals for 2014, which included an increased business participation with Junior Achievement and workforce readiness.
Board members whose terms had expired were recognized. They were Larry Bennett, Dr. Neyland Clark, Frank Czeschin, Jeff Davis, Roger D. Davis, Kent Jones, Kenny Saulman and Doug York, as well as David Lett, the outgoing board chair.
Lett recognized Clark and York as those whose terms had expired on the Harrison County Economic Development Corp. board.
Darrell Voelker, director of the Harrison County Economic Development Corp., gave the invocation before the meal.