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Not Learning From History

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. No, sir. I live near Watkinsville, Georgia, south of Athens, and I represent northeast Georgia. And I thank the gentleman for yielding.

The chart that you have down there on the floor. If you put the date of this week on the next bar, going back to what Mrs. Bachmann was just talking about, these dealerships are shutting the doors. Dealerships may have 20 employees, they may have 30 or 40 employees. I've met with a number of them. There is a dealer in my district in Clayton, Georgia, in Rabun County, right up on the North Carolina line, called me this week and he got one of those pink slips. He is a customer of the automaker, and that's what all of these dealers are, they're actually customers. And what is happening is this administration is forcing the Big Three automakers to fire their customers, and that makes absolutely no economic sense.

But this dealer doesn't do any floor planning. In other words, he doesn't have to borrow money from the automaker to put the cars on his lot. He owns them all. He's paid for them all. He owns his dealership. He doesn't owe anything to the carmaker. But they have fired him. And in doing so, this administration has fired all their employees.

So the next bar for all of these dealerships I think is 780-some-odd just this week that are going to be fired--the dealership's going to be fired, thus all of their employees are going to be fired. And that's going to put that bar even higher. And it's just not right.

This is an unprecedented takeover from the private sector by this administration--by the car czar that has been set up by this President--and it is totally unconstitutional, it's totally against freedom, it's totally unprecedented. And it's exactly the same thing that Hugo Chavez is doing down in Venezuela.

So if we could imagine that next bar on that graph, it's going to be even higher than it is.

Mr. AKIN. Reclaiming my time, what I'm hearing you say is--you're a medical doctor. You're not claiming to be some economic expert. You're saying common sense says that this 9.7 percent unemployment that we got right now is not the end of this problem and that the idea of the tremendous level of spending that we're seeing is not going to help. You're agreeing with Henry Morgenthau from 1939 that all of this spending is not going to make this any better. And what's more, a lot of that spending is going to result in more unemployment rather than less.

Is that the bottom line of what you're getting at?

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. If the gentleman will yield, absolutely. That's what's going to happen. You cannot borrow and spend yourself to economic prosperity. And that's what's going on here. We're borrowing too much, we're spending too much, taxing too much, and it's going to cost jobs.

I'm sure we'll come back to discussing what the gentlelady from Wyoming was talking about because there is somebody else that's going to talk a lot of jobs across this country. But we're going down a road that is going to hurt our economy. It's going to cost jobs, as we see an increasing number of jobs on your chart there that are being lost. And unemployment claims, we're going to have more and more of those. And it's really taking away from the future of our children and your grandchildren.

Mr. AKIN. That's the bottom line. I think that's what's gotten us staying here this evening talking about this subject. This is critical. This is a very significant problem.

I would like to jump back to my friend from Iowa, Congressman King, a gentleman who has run his own private business for many years before he came to Congress, knows a little bit about small business, knows a little bit about taxation and red tape. And he also understands what some of these massive government spending programs in the last year, what these are liable to do in terms of effects on our economy.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Congressman Akin, I appreciate you yielding.

I wanted to come back to something that you said that I think the American people need to understand very clearly. The President has talked about looking to Spain as being the model of this energy tax--I call it tax-and-cap because it's about taxes, it's about revenue for the Federal Government, it's about getting more revenue to socialize medicine and other things to nationalize, all of the business and industry that is already being nationalized, and even more. But in Spain, I would like to confirm something. It is my understanding, if you would, please, sir, it's my understanding in Spain, when they put on their tax-and-cap or cap-and-trade policy a number of years ago, they touted it as creating green jobs.

Mr. AKIN. I think they call them subprime jobs now, but go ahead, Congressman.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Well, the point is, they talked about creating green jobs. Just recently, one of their--I think it's members of Parliament--was over here talking to the Conservative Opportunity Society. And he told us--I don't recall if you were there, Mr. Akin, or not--but he said for every single green job that was produced in Spain they lost 2.2 jobs. The green jobs that were created were temporary jobs; the jobs that were lost were permanent jobs, industrial jobs. And that's what I kind of recall. Is that correct?

Mr. AKIN. Reclaiming my time, that was exactly what he said. And actually, that made common sense to me because when you go back to this Keynesian economic scheme, what they would argue would be, Hey, we just took all this tax money and we hired these people; so when we hired somebody, we created a job; so, therefore, we had a net. We just hired someone to increase the job by one.

And what the economist found was, when you take that tax money out of things, what happens is, when you took the tax money away to hire the one person, you lost 2.2 jobs over in the private side. So that ratio seems to kind of follow the economic principle that when the Federal Government--yes, you can have the Federal Government take a whole lot of money and hire a lot of people to dig holes in the ground, or whatever, but when you do it by taking that money away from the private sector, you are killing those small businesses, which is a source of where you're generating a lot of these jobs. So I think that is where he was going.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. If the gentleman would yield back just a half second. I want to go back to the outrage that my dear friend, Michele Bachmann from Minnesota, was showing us. The American people should be outraged. And the American people can call a stop to this. We can't. We, as Republicans, have offered alternative after alternative. Wall Street bailout; we offered an alternative, and President Bush, Henry Paulson, the leadership in the House and Senate wouldn't accept it. The nonstimulus--as you call it porkulus bill; I call it the nonstimulus stimulus bill--we offered alternatives. The leadership in this House were obstructionists and wouldn't allow us to have an open hearing and discuss it.

The omnibus appropriations, we had alternatives. We have had alternatives for all this. They call us the Party of No, n-o, but really we are the Party of Know, k-n-o-w, because we know how to help stimulate the economy. We know how to create jobs, and you do that through small business and give the money back in ways to create an environment where small business can create jobs. As the gentleman from Missouri so aptly told us just a few minutes ago, small businesses is where those jobs are created. It's about 85 percent of them. But we have offered alternative after alternative. And this what I call ``tax-and-cap'' legislation has been estimated it's going to cost America, that somewhere between 1.7 to 8 million jobs are going to be lost. In my district in northeast Georgia, we have got in multiple counties right at 14 percent unemployment.

Mr. AKIN. You're talking about millions of job loss as a result of this new tax that's being concocted here.

I would like to recognize another doctor who has joined us. We have got some doctors out tonight, and my good friend Dr. Burgess, I want to recognize him. What we have been talking about is this incredible trend in unemployment and also the trend of excessive spending.

I would be happy to have your perspective, Doctor.

Mr. BURGESS. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I was watching in my office and heard this discussion, and I did want to come over and say just a few words.

Of course, you're correct. We had a report in our Joint Economic Committee last Friday about the current unemployment rate in excess of 9 percent. Of course, we spent $878 billion in February of this year. The President told us that was what we had to spend in order to prevent the unemployment rate from going in excess of 8 percent. Clearly we have seen that number already exceeded. And then we heard at the beginning of this week that because of those numbers, the President was going to accelerate the pace of spending, accelerate the pace of distributing the stimulus money. We weren't spending fast enough was our problem.

Now, of course, Mr. Speaker, I know the comments need to be directed to the Speaker's chair, but I would remind the Speaker that none of us in this room, in fact, no Republican, voted for in favor of that stimulus bill last February.

Mr. AKIN. Reclaiming my time for a moment, in a way that's a little bit unusual, isn't it? There are usually a few Democrats who will vote differently than their party or a few Republicans who will vote differently. In this case, though, on this great big porkulus bill, every single Republican voted ``no.''

Mr. BURGESS. You're absolutely right. Every single one of us did a gut check and said this is not what I came to Washington, DC, to do. It's not what I came to accomplish.

One of the things I wanted to share with the gentleman and share with the House tonight, my hometown newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, runs a column every Sunday by a columnist named Scott Burns, a respected economist. Scott Burns this Sunday was quoting an economist in Austin, Texas, Lacy Hunt. Lacy Hunt, going back to the Great Depression, said, and I am quoting here: ``Irving Fisher saw it first. The man who may have been the greatest American economist wrote about the debt-deflation theory of the Great Depression in 1933. He saw that excess debt controls nearly all the economic variables.'' He went on to say: ``Think about it for a minute. It's a very powerful statement. Excess debt controls nearly all of the economic variables.''

What does that mean? That means we cannot control the unemployment rate. That means almost everything is out of our grasp because of the massive amount of debt that we have accumulated. And on Monday of this week, the President said he wanted to accelerate the pace of spending because we weren't getting that money out the door fast enough. Again let me reiterate, excess debt controls every other economic variable. It was true in 1933. I suspect the same is true today.

He goes on to say, Scott Burns, ``It means that the government stimulus won't do much. Basically you can't borrow your way out of excess debt.'' I think every Member on the floor here tonight has recognized that at one time or another.

And then the final point that he made: ``The only thing that will allow recovery is the passage of time.''

Fortunately, Congress is not in control of that, and time will pass at a set rate regardless of what we think that it will or won't do.

Mr. AKIN. Reclaiming my time, I want to get what you're saying because I think this is important. You're saying there is a relationship between this tremendous level of debt that we are building and the unemployment numbers. In other words, when you have a whole lot more debt, particularly debt with spending, and, of course, spending is causing the debt, you're going to have bad trouble with unemployment. Is that what this economist is saying, gentleman?

Mr. BURGESS. Precisely correct. And I thank the gentleman for yielding back.

We are in a period of prolonged economic underperformance is the other statement they go on to make. It will essentially be a lost decade. We will recover, but the operative factor will be time and not actions. That is something that most people do not want to hear.

Again, excess debt controls almost every other economic facet. You cannot spend your way out of this problem. The unemployment rate went up. The correct response is to not shove more money out the door. The correct response is do what you can to get control of that spending and begin to erode the debt, begin to put the debt on a glide path to reduction. That's where the recovery will come, and that will take time. There is no other way around that.

But, again, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I think this is a wonderful discussion that you've had tonight. I thank you for bringing this to the attention of the American people.

Mr. AKIN. I appreciate the doctor from Texas bringing some wisdom here and some economic common sense. And certainly I think most people know intuitively these things are connected. If you spend a whole lot, eventually you're going to go into debt and then the debt is going to influence things. And in this case, I am an engineer by training, not a medical doctor, but it's almost like drawing a vacuum economically in the economy. So those small businesses that we are just hearing about like out in Wyoming, those small businesses don't have the money they need to invest to drill a well or whatever it is; so the main engine of job creation just dries up. So what you are doing is almost like either starving or dehydrating your economy because the government is just becoming so oppressive and expansive in everything that it is trying to do. And as we heard eloquently expressed from the gentlewoman from Minnesota, the story about what happens when the Federal Government starts to get into the business of running car things. I am picturing there is going to be somebody possibly listening into our discussion that's going to be a cartoonist, and they are going to think about the automobile that is going to be designed by the U.S. Congress, and they are going to have an interesting caricature of what the engine and the wheels look like and how big it is and all kinds of things. There is probably already a YouTube being created or something along those lines. But it's not a pretty picture of having the Federal Government running our business in our private sector. And the genius of our country is to make that distinction, and we are blurring it badly and it's going to cause a lot of trouble.

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