COMMITTEE on WAYS and MEANS

Chairman Dave Camp

Print this Page Opinion Editorials

Brown-Waite: Getting Fooled in Classic Fashion

f t # e
Washington, Feb 19, 2009 | comments


Getting Fooled in Classic Fashion
By GINNY BROWN-WAITE

One of my favorite songs from the 1970s is from the group The Who - "Won't Get Fooled Again." All the aging hippies in Florida ought to dust off their copy and have a listen.

In Congress it's the '70s all over again. My favorite lyric is the iconic line, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, indeed. Timothy Geithner, head of the New York Fed under President Bush and one of the principal architects of Bush's failed TARP plan, is Obama's Treasury secretary. I called the first TARP extortion and said it wouldn't work. I stand by that.

The Treasury secretary at the time demanded $700 billion without accountability. He got it. TARP 1 has been an unmitigated disaster. No accounting has been provided, and the economy is worse than ever.

If you liked TARP 1, you'll love TARP 2. The plan Geithner outlined last week is a rehash of what he recommended when at the Fed. The markets panned it, and my constituents hate it.

Let's recap the Bush-Obama big-government spending disaster: The 2008, $180 billion stimulus was a failure. The 2008, $345 billion housing bailout didn't stop the slide. The 2008 and 2009 TARP 1 cost our children $742 billion.

Now, Obama has asked for the mother of all TARPs - $2 trillion in additional spending. Again, no details and no accountability. What's worse is Obama is trying to force Congress into passing TARP 2 the same way Bush did - with fear. So much for the triumph of hope.

I played The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" when getting ready to vote on Obama's $800 billion spending plan. If we're going to pursue the economic policies of the 1970s, I might as well enjoy the music.

I refuse to call the bill a "stimulus" because, according to Alice Rivlin, President Bill Clinton's economic advisor and hardly a Republican partisan, only 10 percent of this budget-busting mess can be spent this year. In fact, the last dollar won't be spent until 2017. If anyone is keeping track, that's two years after Social Security begins its slide into insolvency.

What's tragic is that Nancy Pelosi and Obama have added $300 billion of this spending to the baseline of next year's budget. For those of you who have better things to do than watch Washington budget debates, that means next year's budget will have an additional $300 billion of deficit spending right from the get-go, and it only increases every year thereafter. If you thought Bush was driving without a fiscal map, it seems the Democrats are driving blind.

The sad thing is, Obama promised change, but we're getting much more of the same. Remember on Jan. 18 when Pelosi raised her hand and promised on CNN that there would be no pork in this spending bill? She loaded the bill with $200 million for condoms that same week.

This administration and the majority are not only repeating the mistakes of the past, they are acting like President Bush provided a model of good government. The Obama spending policies are the Bush spending policies on steroids.

Remember America in the 1930s or '70s, or Japan in the 1990s or Michigan today? The Democrat prescription of higher taxes, more regulation and more spending is doomed to leave our economy in the doldrums and millions without jobs. History tells us that.

I know everyone isn't a fan of The Who, so how about Thomas Jefferson? Jefferson reminds us, "It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself." The Bush-Obama spending has been a tragic error, only errors in Jefferson's day didn't cost $2 trillion.

f t # e