THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY -- (House of Representatives - January 16, 2008)
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Mr. PERLMUTTER. Thank you, Mr. Yarmuth.
It's great to be standing on the floor with gentlemen who have been elected by the people in 2006 to change the way this Nation is being run, and to provide the hope that we need to deal with the problems you've outlined. And we can do this, we know we can do this. This is a time where we change the focus from the wealthiest 1 percent to the hardworking people of middle America. This is the time for hardworking Americans. And we're going to provide, based on this stimulus package, a package of different approaches to help middle Americans, hardworking Americans, we're going to provide them with refunds so that there will be some money in their pocket, not just in the pocket of the wealthiest 1 percent, but in the pockets of everyone across America. Ronald Reagan used to talk about trickle down. Well, that's not how the economy works, it works trickle up. It's a flood up. If people in the middle have money, they spend it, and that will generate all sorts of new business in America.
We're also going to provide stimuli that will create many new jobs, whether it's in the energy sector. We can improve how we're dealing with health care and increase jobs there. But this is a time when we really are going to change how Washington is conducting business. The President would like us just to focus on the wealthiest. He would like us just to keep things the same. We're not doing that. We're here to provide hope to people and change so that people in their everyday lives know that they've got folks here who were elected to fight for them. And we are going to change things by providing a whole new approach to the economy this year.
We hope to provide a package that will be $100 billion, that's about 10 months in Iraq, that's nothing, where we can help this country really get on a solid footing economically, and then for the long-term future, really develop a whole new energy system that will provide thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs across this country, as well as revamp our health care system that has become such a drag on the economy.
This is a time when we have to look very hard and be realistic about the problems that face us. But when America really turns its attention to something, it changes the future. And that's what this Congress is going to do. That's our job. That's why we were sent here was to change the future and to provide hope to people.
With that, I would like to turn this over to my friend from Wisconsin, STEVEN KAGEN. And with that, sir, would you let us know what you think of this stimulus package that the Speaker is talking about.
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Mr. PERLMUTTER. Mr. Speaker, I think we have got again to realize and understand why the people sent us here to change America, to change the way Washington runs, and they want us to look out for middle America, hardworking people. They want us to look out in the short term, the mid term, and the long term.
And in the short term, you talked about it. We want to provide in a bipartisan way, working with our friends on the other side and with the administration, real relief to millions of people across America. And you described it as timely, targeted, and temporary. Relief that gets right into people's pockets where they can then buy those necessities, whether it's a washer or they have got to fix the sink or whatever it might be, because people, even those that don't run into terrible problems as you described, are having a heck of a time making ends meet. They're working 40 hours. They're working 60 hours. But if there is one bump in the road, a kid who has to have braces or any little thing just sets you back, because everybody is that close, as energy prices go up, as tuition goes up, as health care costs go up. So our job is to give them some relief. And when we do that, that will help the economy as a whole.
Then we have the mid term and long term, the trade policies. But for me in my area, which is primarily the suburbs of Denver, it is middle America. It is right down the middle politically. It is right down the middle financially. It's not rich. It's not poor. It's not Democrat or Republican. It is right down the middle as an independent kind of an area. And they are expecting of us to turn the attention to them, to middle America, and not just the wealthiest people. And when we do that, we're going to change the face of this Nation again.
JOHN YARMUTH was talking about the fact that as we have improved productivity, the worker, the average guy, hasn't seen the benefit of that, but it's been more of the owner. And that's okay, too, that the owner sees some benefit, but it should be shared across the board, because at the end of the day you have this disparity between the rich and the poor continue to grow, and that's not healthy for any country. This country has thrived and progressed because of the middle class, because of the hardworking people in the middle.
So we have long-term strategies, which would be investments in energy, rebuilding our infrastructure. The speaker comes from the city where we had the bridge collapse. We have too many roads, too many things that have to be repaired in this country, and it is time for us to turn our investments to this country, and lots of jobs will be developed as a response to that.
I yield to my friend from Kentucky.
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Mr. PERLMUTTER. I just would like to close. I think our friend from Minneapolis, Mr. Ellison, used the right word; the economic stimulus is a spark. It will help those people who really can use it just make the ends meet that week. Once that happens, that moves an economy as millions of people in unison do that.
So we have a chance to really change the way this economy is headed, we have a real chance to change the focus from the wealthiest 1 percent to the people who are working so hard every day across America. Those people that make this country so wonderful, so great.
I am just glad that the folks from Wheat Ridge and Lakewood and Arvada and Golden and Brighton and Commerce City and Aurora and a number of
other places in my District gave me the chance to come here and help make that change. I think that they are looking for change, and they are looking for hope, and we are going to deliver that.
With that, I will turn it back to the president of our class, the eminent Mr. Walz.