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Roskam - An Idea of Obama: Stimulus that is Both Sustainable and Free
Thursday, March 05, 2009
In the aftermath of the approval of an $800-billion spending bill masquerading as economic stimulus, many of us in Congress concerned about the exponential growth of the national debt are wondering if U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has even slightly considered common-sense policy alternatives before squandering precious taxpayer dollars.
President Barack Obama’s recent visit to a Caterpillar plant in Downstate East Peoria highlighted the fact that the answer to the above question is a resounding “no.”
Caterpillar recently shed about 20,000 jobs amid the global construction slowdown. Unlike many competitors, Caterpillar has retained much of its manufacturing capacity in the United States, providing high-paying jobs in Illinois. This despite the fact that a large part of its sales come from outside the United States.
Many of Caterpillar’s largest customers are in Colombia, such as the Pribbenow mine, home to some 250 Caterpillar machines, including 75 D-11 track-type tractors. There are more of these tractors, which are the largest in the world, in Pribbenow than anywhere else. They are all manufactured in Illinois.
Unfortunately, Ms. Pelosi has chosen to convince the American people of
the stimulative impact of programs to save the habitat of a San
Francisco Bay area salt marsh mouse instead of saving thousands of jobs
in Illinois with one vote in the House of Representatives. Were the
Colombia Free Trade Agreement to pass Congress, it would remove tariffs
on American goods sold in Colombia and lower the price of Caterpillar’s
equipment by 10%, making it easier for Colombian customers to afford
more equipment and allowing Caterpillar to retain some of its