The Political Stimulus Package
Op-ed by U.S. Sen. Bob Corker
February 6, 2008
Today, in classrooms and homes across our state, Tennessee children are looking to the adults in their lives — their parents, teachers, coaches and Sunday school teachers — to teach them life principles and help prepare them for the future.
I hope, at times, the adults these children look up to are their elected officials in Washington, but I hope they aren't looking this week.
Because instead of dealing with the fundamental issues that have led to our country's current economic ills, the U.S. Congress is on a fast track to pass a so-called economic stimulus package to be paid for — entirely — by those same schoolchildren, and their children.
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for Tennesseans who will receive checks if the stimulus package becomes law, but our citizens should know that this is not an economic stimulus package — it's a political stimulus package designed to generate election-year public favor. I think our citizens are more intelligent than that. I will not support it.
My heart goes out to people who find themselves in financial situations that in many cases are beyond their control.
And I'm always happy when I see Americans receive refunds from the federal government, but I find something extremely inappropriate about a deficit-ridden federal government borrowing money from our grandchildren and sprinkling it across the country for a short-term fix that will do little, if anything, to jump-start our troubled economy.
I think all of us know our country has been fiscally reckless over the past several years and that generations after us will be dealing with the brunt of our actions.
I'm a strong believer in low taxes and creating a structure that people can count on to move ahead and to make investments, but in support of these policies we must get spending under control. My generation will never pay the $150 billion cost of this package. Our children and grandchildren will.
Our country would be better served if we took the time to discuss and debate solutions that positively impact and help grow our economy over the long haul — creating more and better-paying jobs here in the United States. Unfortunately, folks may take their refunds and buy products that are in large part made overseas, and the money borrowed to finance this political stimulus package in many cases will be loaned to us by foreign countries. It just doesn't add up.
In Washington, we always seem to find an excuse to spend money we don't have. Correcting this means being honest about our future obligations and having the courage to make difficult decisions that may not be politically convenient.
Our country has been built on sacrifice. It's been built on generations before us making tough decisions and sacrifices to benefit future generations. I hope in the very near future Congress will have the courage to do the same and act in the best long-term interest of our country.
For those of you who are wondering, this is what a fiscal conservative sounds like in elected office. He should have more company on Capitol Hill. The Senate passed the political stimulus bill by a vote of 81 - 16.