CEDAR RAPIDS | Republican congressional candidate Steve Rathje decried the nation’s unemployment rate this week, putting it at 10.6 percent when accounting for those Americans who have ceased looking for work.

Rathje, a Cedar Rapids businessman, has proposed three solutions to reduce the jobless rate across the country.

His proposals are to implement a tax holiday on job creation; replace the Affordable Care Act with a plan that helps the “truly needy” without stopping businesses from hiring; and change the business tax structure.

“The number of Americans actually employed in a real job and paying taxes has fallen again. This means that unemployment is slightly lower only because fewer people are searching for jobs,” Rathje said in a statement. “This means that fewer working Americans are able to support their families on a paycheck and fewer people are paying the taxes to sustain a much larger federal government. This trend is not sustainable.”

Rathje cites the U.S. Department of Labor in saying that 6.2 million people had given up looking for work since the start of the economic decline known as the Great Recession, which he says puts the “actual” unemployment rate at 10.6 percent.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the Labor Department, however, puts the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November, including those discouraged workers and those who have given up looking for work, at 8.3 percent. When including those who are underemployed, the seasonally adjusted rate is 13.2 percent.

“These three steps would allow us to bring jobs home to the United States, something I know a lot about,” Rathje said.

Rathje is one of three Republican candidates in Iowa's 1st District vying for the party's nomination to fill the open congressional seat. State Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, and Dubuque businessman Rod Blum are also seeking the Republican nomination.

There are also five Democratic candidates vying to fill the seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, who is making a bid for the Senate.

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Staff Writer

Political reporter at the Courier

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