The Shreveport Times - Kennedy: Bailout Wasn't the Only Solution to Economic Woes
By Icess Fernandez
The economy and health care are the two biggest issues the next Congress will face, U.S. Senate candidate John Kennedy said Tuesday.
Kennedy, during a visit with The Times' Community Board, said both issues will need solutions quickly.
"I think that the two biggest domestic problems is No. 1, the worldwide deleveraging that is taking place now that has to occur before our economy and the economy of others can recover," said the Louisiana treasurer.
"And the second is health care. That is not only a moral issue, but it's also an economic issue giving that we are spending $7,600 a person for everybody in America in health care."
Kennedy, a Baton Rouge Republican, is seeking election to the U.S. Senate.
He is running against incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu, of New Orleans.
Kennedy spoke to The Times' Community Board about several topics, including the economy, health care, energy and illegal immigration.
The problems with the economy stem from two major reasons, he said.
"Some very rich people, many of whom are on Wall Street, rolled the dice with other people's money and they lost. And they did it with what has been referred to as these toxic securities," Kennedy said.
"The second cause is that some other very rich people loaned a whole lot of money to people who couldn't pay it back."
Kennedy said he opposed the bailout Congress approved last week. "The reason I opposed the bailout was not because I don't believe the credit markets are frozen, they are," he said.
"It's because we didn't get into this mess in two weeks and I didn't feel like it was appropriate for Congress to be forced in a two-week period to get out."
As for the bailout plan that was adopted, Kennedy said, "I hope this works because if it doesn't, our taxpayers are going to be out $770 billion and they didn't have to put them at risk."
There are solutions other than the bailout, he said, including creating a quasi-public federal corporation that would buy mortgage-backed securities and give banks shares in the corporation.
Kennedy also discussed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and on federal land in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado as a way to ween the nation's dependence on foreign oil while alternatives are being produced.
"I do not see the objections to drilling in ANWR. ANWR is in Alaska, it's 19 million acres. It's the size of South Carolina. The area they would drill on is 2,000 acres, the size of JFK Airport," he said.
"It would be like putting a postage stamp in the middle of a football field and saying that's where we're going to drill and nowhere else. I just don't see the environmental impact."