Tuesday, February 10, 2009

McConnell

Over in The Corner, Mark Hemingway has Senator Mitch McConnell's statement on the floor of the Senate today. It's worth reading.

A couple of excerpts:
The American people were ready to support an economic plan that would work and that wouldn’t spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need. So were Republicans in Congress. What many of us did not expect, however, was that President Obama wouldn’t be the author of that plan. In an odd turn of events, the bold economic plan that President Obama called for ended up being written by some of the longest-serving Democrats in the House of Representatives — and it showed. Tasked with writing a stimulus bill that was timely, targeted, and temporary, Democrats in the House produced an enormous spending bill that was none of the above.

...

In every version of the stimulus we’ve seen, wasteful spending has attracted the most attention. But even more worrisome to many is the permanent expansion of government programs. One estimate puts the cost of this expansion at nearly $1 trillion over the next decade.

Even the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which counts Obama economic advisor Paul Volcker and former Clinton Budget Director Alice Rivlin as directors, has been highly critical of this aspect of the bill. Last week, CRFB President Maya MacGuineas pointed out that many of the bill’s spending projects squander resources. But even more troubling, she said, are the programs that aim to permanently expand government. As MacGuineas put it, ‘extending our borrowing beyond the economic downturn will make our already-dismal fiscal picture far, far worse.’

Still, some Democrats continue to defend the bill. Asked about its apparent lack of focus, one veteran Democratic Congressman said, ‘So what.’ One Senate Democrat called $16.4 billion in the bill ‘a trifle.’ Another Democrat senator said that by inserting a $3 billion project of his own, he was just ‘fiddling at the edges.’ Another said that $50 billion was ‘not going to make the difference to the economy.’ Most people cringe at a 50 cent increase in the cost of bread. Senate Democrats shrug at taking $16 billion from the taxpayers for a project they can’t even assure us will work.

...

All of us want to strengthen the economy and create and save jobs. Republicans believe the best way to do it is to first fix the problem, which is housing. Then we need to let people keep more of what they earn. Throughout this process, Republicans have been guided by the belief that the desire to ‘just do something’ shouldn’t be an excuse to waste tax dollars. That’s why we proposed a plan that was more focused on the problem and which didn’t waste money — in short, a plan that was timely, targeted, and temporary. Sadly the bill before us is none of these things

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