We’ve heard this tune before. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted on an $825 billion dollar economic stimulus package, described as legislation that will create jobs and stimulate the economy. As with other recent massive spending bills shoved through Congress, I have to report that this too will do neither, which is why I voted against it.
There is no doubt that times are hard, and that our country and countrymen are hurting financially. While there is undoubtedly a role for our federal government to play in helping Americans during these trying times, this stimulus bill is not the answer. The House Democratic leadership has a history of over-reacting by passing massive funding bills that ultimately lead to buyer’s remorse – for the taxpayers who are eventually stuck with the bill. Americans are still reeling over the Democrats’ one-hit wonder last fall which dumped $700 billion of taxpayer money into laps of failing corporations.
My constituents have been very clear in their calls to me urging me to vote against this sham of a stimulus bill, which has managed to sneak in earmarks for activities not related to job creation. A notable example includes the sum of $335 million for sexually transmitted disease education and prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – this is not the kind of stimulation that will help our economy.
Moreover, I’m disturbed by what I’ve learned and read in press reports that for Democrats, this bill is "a tool for rewriting the social contract with the poor, the uninsured and the unemployed, in ways they have long yearned to do." That does not sound like an economic stimulus package, but more like a backdoor way of inserting the federal government into everyone’s lives and essentially saying, "Washington knows what’s best for you."
On the other hand, Republican Members of Congress have offered an alternative that provides immediate tax relief for working families, small businesses, the unemployed (who currently have to pay taxes on their unemployment benefits), and credits for responsible home-buyers who can help stabilize the housing market. Looking at the chart below, sponsored by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, you can see that the Democratic stimulus package, which relies heavily on slow government spending initiatives, will not stimulate the economy now. Conversely, the few tax cuts that are included in the stimulus bill, will impact families and the economy twice as fast as government spending.
Finally, we have to ask where this money is coming from. At some point, our creditors – including countries like China and foreign organizations like OPEC – may call in our debts. When that happens, we’re going to have to cough up the dough, and if we don’t have it, our taxes will soar to prevent a total government shutdown. I’d prefer to bring an end to these wasteful spending bills to keep the fat lady from singing.
U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls) represents Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District.