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Our Free Enterprise System and the Role of Big Government

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Location: Washington, DC


OUR FREE ENTERPRISE SYSTEM AND THE ROLE OF BIG GOVERNMENT -- (House of Representatives - July 23, 2009)

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Mr. McCOTTER. I thank the gentleman from Tennessee.

When the cap-and-tax national energy tax bill was passed from the House, the Congress went on a break, and when people went home on break, they found out how much the American people did not like the cap-and-tax bill that this House passed. In fact, I remember being home--I am sure a lot of Members had this moment, both people who voted for it and voted against it. You go to the grocery store, somebody might recognize you. They would look around. They would walk up and they'd say, Are you my Representative? And you'd say, Yes. They'd look at you and look around again, and they'd say, Dude, this is crazy. This cap-and-tax is crazy. I would just say, Yes, it is. And I said, Especially in Michigan, our State where we have a 15.2 percent unemployment rate, where we are a manufacturing giant now in difficult times, why the Federal Government would make it harder to manufacture in the United States, why we would be but a Senate vote and a Presidential signature away from a radical, ideological imposition on America's energy future that will raise people's energy taxes and will kill their jobs.

I still can't figure out why we would do this. It is absolutely insane to add massive government spending, debt and regulatory burdens on a recessive economy, and why you would threaten to raise tax rates on people at the very time we need the entrepreneurial genius of the American people to grow this economy, create jobs and start to stabilize ourselves for the future and the international competition in this age of globalization.

Now, when I say it's insane, people say, Well, isn't that a little harsh? I say no. I'm 43. As I was growing up, we had a new book put in front of us in school. It was called Ecology. It had a nice picture of the world on it from outer space. I was like, Oh, this is nice. And in the course of learning about ecology, my generation, Generation X, was told that the greatest threat we faced wasn't the Soviet Union. I tended to disagree even at an early age. I was a bit precocious about the Russians.

They told me in my generation that we would freeze to death in the next ice age if we didn't reduce pollution. Flash forward. My wife and I, our children are in school. Today our children's generation is being told that unless the government regulates the economy and raises energy taxes, they will face a climate change in which global warming will destroy their way of life.

So we have gone from ice to fire, and yet the solution remains the same, oddly, from the proponents of the cap-and-tax legislation who say, We have to have government control of the weather, raise your energy taxes, dictate your lifestyle and devastate your jobs all so that we can prevent global warming. This from the people who told me there was an ice age coming.

That, to me, is not sane. That is not realistic. That is not based on science. That is based on ideology, and ideology applied to a nation at a struggling time leads to dire ramifications for the American people.

I want to show you the extreme to which this goes. When in the majority the Republican Party heard about the debt dangers the United States faced, especially debts from nations such as Communist China, I agree with that. Now that the Democratic majority and President Obama are racking up unprecedented levels of debt and unprecedented levels of spending, I want to show you what the Commerce Secretary said about cap-and-trade regulations in our relations with Communist China. This is from The Wall Street Journal, But yesterday, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said something amazing: U.S. consumers should pay for Chinese greenhouse gas emissions. You see, the Communist Chinese, in one of the ironies of life, are tending to protect their manufacturing base more than the free market--United States--from governmental intrusions, regulations, and taxation.

Now, what Mr. Locke, our Commerce Secretary, said was this. It's important that those who consume the products being made all around the world to the benefit of America. And it's our own consumption activity that's causing the emission of greenhouse gas. Americans need to pay for that.

I want you to think about this. After President Clinton signed the permanent normalization trade relations with Communist China, we in Michigan, before the rest of the country, started asking where are the jobs. Why is manufacturing in America hurting? Why is it going offshore? Where is it going? We knew where it was going. It was going to Communist China.

So we have a two-for here. We have the Commerce secretary saying that he doesn't seem to mind that the jobs are going over there and that what we really need to do is, if the United States decides to continue to pass legislation that impedes and impairs and harms its manufacturing base, not that we should seek fair trade with Communist China, but what we should do is borrow money from Communist China with interest to pay them for their greenhouse gas emissions to get them to adopt the very thing that American people do not want to adopt in America. I want you to think about this. I'm going to borrow money with interest from Communist Chinese to give to them so they can be environmentally sound.

Now, I do not understand why, given what happens to our party here in the House, why the Commerce Secretary did not say that the Communist China is the party of ``no.'' And I think it would have been appropriate. But I also would not expect that from an administration whose vice president says we have to keep spending to keep from going bankrupt. I had no idea that that meant that not only would he spend the money here, he'd spend the money over in Communist China and borrow from them to give it back, leaving you, the American taxpayer, with the interest.

And it also would not be surprising to me from an administration who said we have to spread the wealth around. I don't think the President said quite how far he said he was going to spread your wealth. I don't remember him saying that that the world would be a better place in, we take U.S. taxpayer money, send it to Communist China to make red bureaucrats green. I would have liked to have heard that. I'm sure a lot of people would have liked to have heard that around October last year where their money was going to wind up, rather than announced now via the Commerce Secretary.

The frustration that the American people feel is that they realize our prosperity comes from the private sector, not the public sector. They understand that we do not want a radical cold-turkey shift from fossil fuels into some nebulous green energy future. What we want to see is maximum American energy production, commonsense conservation and free-market green technological innovations that will transition us into a more environmentally sound economy of the future.

What we see in an ideologically rife House, Senate, and administration is the opposite. They want to do cold turkey on fossil fuels and the existing economy and move us into a radical, and again, ill-defined green economy that in many ways--with the absence of nuclear and others--proves impossible to obtain in a reasonable period of time without doing more damage to a recessed economy.

I thank the gentleman from Tennessee for his time.

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