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Mr. SCALISE. I want to thank my friend from Missouri. We have been having these discussions for I guess the past few Wednesdays for a few months now. I appreciate the gentleman for hosting this hour that's become a regular tradition, not only to talk about the things that are happening in the country, but really to focus in on the actions that have been taken here in this Congress by this Democratic leadership that have actually led us to the decline in jobs that we're facing today.
Of course, so many Americans remember now back in the beginning of this year when President Obama stood right there, right there on that well behind you, and talked about the need for a stimulus bill, a bill that spent $787 billion of money that we don't have, money that was borrowed from our children and grandchildren, and he said it had to happen so that we would stop unemployment from exceeding 8 percent.
Now, of course today, as we look at 10.2 percent unemployment, the American people are asking, Where are the jobs? And, of course, when the White House came out with this Web site, and the White House and the President bragged about the transparency, and, in fact, the President talked about the fact that the American people would be able to track every dollar, and even said that Vice President Joe Biden would be in charge of tracking the money, and the American people would be able to go to a Web site and see where that money from that stimulus bill is being spent and how it's creating all these jobs. Of course you and I opposed that bill because we knew it wouldn't create jobs. In fact, we knew it would help actually lead to more unemployment because it would add so much more money to our national debt, money that we couldn't afford to spend, and money that was going to hurt small businesses and in fact did hurt small businesses.
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Mr. SCALISE. Well, in fact, they created a Web site called recovery.gov, and this is where the President said people could go and find out and track every dollar that's being spent, and it's going to be fully transparent. I guess maybe the White House didn't think that people were actually going to take him up on his offer. But of course the American people did. As people started going to that Web site, we had uncovered this about 2 weeks ago. When you would go to the Web site, we found out, first of all those of us in Louisiana found out that we had about 45 congressional districts because they actually had a listing of how many jobs were created in Louisiana's 45th Congressional District. And, of course, they showed that more jobs were created from the stimulus bill in Louisiana's Eighth Congressional District than in the district I represent, the First Congressional District. The only problem with that is Louisiana only has seven congressional districts. And so many people in Louisiana were not only asking, where are the jobs, but where is this Eighth Congressional District?
Mr. AKIN. I just want to stop you because what you're saying, people are going to think that this is either a comedy or a fiction.
You're saying that we put millions of Federal dollars into creating a Web site to let people know where the jobs were being created by this supposedly stimulus bill, and whoever it was that was hired said that the jobs are going into an Eighth and a Ninth and a Tenth Congressional District in Louisiana, and you, being from Louisiana, know there's only seven districts. So you're saying the Federal Government hasn't figured out how many congressional districts there are in Louisiana. That's amazing.
Mr. SCALISE. Not only that--and maybe this would be a comedy if it was fiction. The problem is, this is not fiction. This is reality. This is what the White House actually had on their Web site that was supposedly showing the transparency and accountability for all the tax dollars that they said that they would display how that money was being used. And so we had actually inquired about this and our local newspaper, the Times Picayune of New Orleans, did a little digging of their own and called the White House and said, How is it that you can have this Web site and you're showing districts that don't even exist, showing jobs created in places that don't exist? What is really going on here?
The first thing the White House said is, We're not certifying the accuracy of the information. That was the quote from the White House. The group that said they would be the most transparent administration in history, when finally tasked with showing the American people where billions of dollars of money that we don't have is being spent, their answer was, We're not certifying the accuracy of the information.
And then, if I can follow up, they actually went further and they said, Okay, wait. Hold on a second. Okay, let's say you're not certifying the information, but you're actually showing on your Web site districts--and this just isn't in Louisiana. We found this in Arizona and Kentucky. Probably Missouri.
Mr. AKIN. I heard Oklahoma had 99 districts.
Mr. SCALISE. They were showing districts that didn't exist all across the country, and they were bragging about the jobs that were created in those districts that didn't exist, those phantom districts. So they said, Well, how is it that you can show on your Web site a district that doesn't even exist? The answer from the White House--and that is riveting, because this is taxpayer money, this is money our children and grandchildren are going to have to pay back, money that you and I said should not have even been spent in the first place because it was money we don't have, and it wasn't going to create jobs--and they asked the White House to follow up, and they said, How is it that you can show information that's false on your Web site? The White House's answer was, Who knows, man, who really knows. That was the best they could come up with, and the American people deserve better.
Mr. AKIN. This is a million-dollar Web site created by the White House, the Obama administration. They come up with districts that don't exist in various States. And when asked--what was the quote again? This is brilliant. This is really academic. Who knows, man, who really knows. Hey, far out, dude. I mean, Woodstock lives.
What are we talking about here? They're talking about districts that don't exist, claiming that jobs have been created; and yet here we are on the floor, we're not necessarily wizards, but we know enough about small business that excessive Federal spending is an enemy to it. And so what is it that the Obama administration promised? I happen to have the promise. Instead of all these jobs and, Who knows man, who really knows, here's who really knows. This is what the forecast was going to be for the unemployment if we passed the stimulus bill, which we did. This was the Obama forecast without the stimulus bill. And what really happened?
Well, the red line is what's going on. This is unemployment after we spent $787 billion that we don't have, which really wasn't a stimulus bill. As you recall, the chief of staff for the President said, We want to use every crisis as a good opportunity to move our agenda. So their agenda in the supposedly stimulus bill was to basically get rid of all the Republican welfare reforms and add all kinds of money in all kinds of various bailouts and things, but there really wasn't even an FDR-type stimulus in this bill.
And we stood here on this floor--I think you were with me, what was it, 6 months ago--we said, This isn't going to create any jobs. Now here we are at 10.2 percent unemployment, and that number is conservative because if you've lost your job for more than a year, you're not even on the report any more, even though you may be doing a little part-time work or don't have a job at all. It doesn't count you. And even not counting those people, 10.2 percent unemployment. And so what's happened here is just exactly what we talked about.
Mr. SCALISE. Some of the economic experts are actually saying that the true unemployment number right now is probably closer to 17 percent because there's so many Americans that just stopped looking for work because of the tough economic times. And so what we had pointed out back then in February, 10 months ago when they first brought this stimulus bill, we pointed out that you don't create jobs by growing the size of government. You don't create jobs by borrowing money from our children and grandchildren. You create jobs by helping small businesses enjoy a climate where they can actually go and create jobs. Because it's not government that creates jobs, it's small businesses out there.
The small businesses create about 70 percent of all the jobs in this country. They are our job creators. And what they've been saying and what American families have been saying is: Government, stop all of these policies that are literally shutting down companies and running jobs off to countries like China and India.
And so what we've had this year, we have seen this cap-and-trade energy tax. That's been one of their answers that literally would run millions of American jobs out of this country to other countries. Then they came back with--of course, they had the bailoutsa and then they had the stimulus bill and then they had the budget that doubled the national debt in 5 years.
And then after cap-and-trade they came with the health care bill, the government takeover of health care, which they're still putting as their top priority. Of course, President Obama is using that as his top priority when the American people are saying, We don't want a government takeover of health care; we want you to reform things that are broken. And we've presented legislation to actually fix the problems--to lower costs, to address preexisting conditions--the real problems American families are having with health care. But what American families don't want to see is the government take over all of health care and literally shift the hundred million more people onto a Medicare system that's already struggling to make ends meet. And senior citizens know that.
So what they're asking is: stop dealing with all of these policies that are actually running more jobs out of our country. Go and help create jobs in small businesses by lowering tax rates. And guess what's going to happen here on the House floor tomorrow? The Democrat leadership is actually bringing a bill to make permanent the death tax at a 45 percent tax rate. That's going to
kill small businesses in this country. And that's their priority instead of creating jobs.
Mr. AKIN. If I could just ask you to yield back, everything you said is exactly spot on, and it is the solution to trying to deal with unemployment. But I think what I'd like to, if it's possible, just for a minute, get a little philosophical here and talk about the fact that when you take a look at the political parties, in general these are two different ideas about what you do when you've got problems with unemployment.
One of them was proposed by a little British economist by the name of Lord Keynes. He was accompanied in his mischief with a fellow by the name of Morgenthau, who was FDR's Secretary of the Treasury. That idea was called ``stimulating the economy.'' The idea was that if the government will just spend enough money, it's going to create demand, and therefore the whole economy will run. It appeals to me as an engineer about just as much as the idea of reaching down, grabbing your bootstraps, and try to lift yourself so you can fly around the room. But the idea is that when you've got a bad economy, the government should spend money like mad and it'll ``stimulate the economy.'' And so that was one theory.
Another theory that was developed--and that usually is the Democrat theory, although not entirely--the other theory is: get your foot off the spending and the taxing, leave enough money in the company and, particularly with small business owners, to allow them to invest. When they invest, they create jobs and you allow the free market and you allow Americans, in the ingenuity of Americans and freedom, to motivate and to build a country bigger and stronger than it was before. And by doing that the economy gets stronger because individual citizens, not the government, are the ones that create the jobs.
And so that was another formula that was tried by, among others, by JFK. Also by Ronald Reagan and G.W. Bush. All got off the taxes, left more money in the pocket of the small businessman, and voila, the economy takes off like a rocket in all three instances.
The other example, I want to run back to it. You've got this guy Morgenthau and here it is 1939. Now we have turned a recession into the Great Depression. And Morgenthau comes before the Ways and Means Committee. This is something that happened long enough that people around here should know something about it. This was the buddy of little Lord Keynes. And this is what he says: we have tried spending money. We're spending more than we have ever spent before--and it does not work. And he goes on to say, After 8 years of the administration, we have just as much unemployment as when we started, and an enormous debt to boot. This is FDR's guy that was one of the original stimulus people.
So when I hear people say stimulus--this is the result of stimulus: it's unemployment. It turns a recession into a Great Depression. So what did we try in April or May of this last spring? We tried the same dumb idea. And guess what? We're getting the same lousy results. No big surprise.
So there are two ways to approach unemployment when you've got a problem in the economy. And the idea of spending a whole lot of money that you don't have, like $787 billion, it never worked for him. And all of these nice predictions that we saw show that it just hasn't worked the way the administration said that's where we're going to be.
Here's where we are. You see the trend of that line? That's not exactly a hopeful trend.
I'd yield to my friend.
Mr. SCALISE. I thank my friend from Missouri for pointing that out. And when you go back to those comments by Henry Morgenthau, the Treasury Secretary for FDR, the comments that he made in 1939, there's an old saying: history repeats itself. And the unfortunate part of that is we're standing at a very critical point in our Nation's history. We're at one of those crossroads. And are we actually going to be here in Congress and try to perpetuate the great legacy of America, and that is that every generation has inherited a better Nation than the one that was passed down to them by the previous generation.
And that's a great tradition our country has always enjoyed. And that tradition is at risk right now. It's at risk because of the spending and the borrowing that's being perpetuated by the liberals that are running Congress right now.
When you show that comment from FDR, it's very telling because when this administration came in, President Obama made a point everywhere he went, and he still talks about it today, saying he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression. Well, first of all, if you go back and look at the Great Depression and the signs there, they were much worse than the signs he inherited. The signs he inherited weren't as bad as what Jimmy Carter created that ultimately led us to Ronald Reagan. When Jimmy Carter was President we had double-digit unemployment, we had double-digit interest rates, and double-digit inflation. In fact, they created a new term for it called ``stagflation.''
When President Obama came into office, we were less than 8 percent unemployment. So it was single digit. It was still a high number, but it was a single-digit number. We had very low inflation and very low interest rates. Right now, because of President Obama's policies, these policies like cap-and-trade, like the spending and the stimulus bill and the health care government takeover, they have led us now to double-digit unemployment; but what we're starting to see are the telltale signs also of creeping up interest rates and inflation because of the policies of President Obama.
So when he talks about this being the worst economy since the Great Depression, I think what he was trying to do was set up an event so that he knew his policies probably would create double-digit unemployment and double-digit inflation and double-digit interest rates, because history does repeat itself. So he tried to set the stage that he was walking into something worse than what he walked into, but he's created an economy that virtually is leading us back to the 1930s, when we did have the Great Depression, and it's because of his policies that are spending, taxing, and borrowing our country into oblivion.
I yield back.
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