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Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 4899, Disaster Relief And Summer Jobs Act Of 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Listening to this debate in my office, I just had to come down here because it sounds like this debate is taking place in a vacuum here, like we didn't do anything else this past week. It's been noted that we're providing extra money for FEMA, some for projects that are in the pipeline already, some for disasters that we know will occur. You could put that aside and realize that we're spending I think it's $600 million--$600 million, new money, every dime of which will be borrowed. Because we're running a deficit, every dime will be borrowed.

Now you may say, ``All this is being taken from the

stimulus.'' We borrowed the stimulus. We borrowed the stimulus money. We are borrowing nearly 40 percent of the money that we're spending here at the Federal level. So they'll say, ``Oh, yes. This is being taken from another program that's already funded.'' But you have to realize we're borrowing that money, too. So $600 million to create temporary jobs for kids in the summertime, apparently, with no notion that we may have put a lot of people out of work with what we just did earlier this week.

You know, we pass a lot of laws here. We're good at that. But we aren't very good at suspending the laws of economics. We can't do that. We can pretend that we can, but we can't do it. We can't suspend the laws of economics, and we can't phase them in, either. So when you announce that you're going to tax investment capital, that means there's less investment capital to actually invest in job creating activities. So the job creating sector is smaller than it was before. Whenever you take money into government from the job creating sector, when you tax investment capital, like the health care reform that we did, that means there's going to be less capital for job creation.

Also, when you look at this health care bill itself, the President said when he signed the bill into law that the time for overheated rhetoric is over and that the rhetoric will now be confronted with reality. Well, let me tell you what the reality is right now. The reality is higher insurance premiums. So if it's not bad enough out there with a lack of jobs, Americans all over are going to face much higher insurance premiums by virtue of the legislation we just passed. You have to understand that all of the pressures right now are to drive costs upward. There's no downward pressure economically on insurance premiums at the moment because any cost controls either don't exist at all; there's no medical liability reform; and broadening the pool of people who will come into any insurance pool doesn't happen or is not on the mandatory side several years from now.

All you have are requirements that preexisting conditions for children now be covered; that individuals, adults up
to age 26 can stay on their parents' policy; preventative care now has to be covered with no deductibles or copays. Now those may or may not be good policies. That's not what I'm arguing here. But when you do that, insurance is no longer a hedge against risk. We've just obliterated what insurance is supposed to be, and insurance companies will now be treated like public utilities where government simply regulates them. And all the pressure is upward. There's no downward economic pressure on price. So what we'll see in the next several months is insurance premiums jumping up.

I just want to say right now, we shouldn't be surprised when that happens because we can't suspend the laws of economics. We can pass laws, but there are certain laws that are there that we can't change, and those will be slapping us in the face here soon. So when we come to the floor, it's all well and good to talk about FEMA funding. But I wish we would talk a little about $600 million also that's going to be spent--borrowed--whether it's taken from another existing program or not, we're borrowing that money as well. We're borrowing more money, adding to the deficit, adding to the debt.

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Mr. FLAKE. I thank the gentlelady for yielding. What got me to the floor was not to talk about FEMA, but when the gentleman brought out a chart about the economy and jobs, that is what I wanted to talk about.

The gentleman mentioned preexisting conditions. What I said was this may or may not be good public policy to deal with that. I think it is, but we ought to deal with it in a responsible way. The Republican plan was to assist jobs in having high-risk pools for those with preexisting conditions to go into. And that way you simply don't even pretend you are suspending the laws of economics and telling the insurance companies you can't raise your rates because we have suspended the laws of economics. You recognize that is a cost and that is a subsidy that will have to be borne, but you do it honestly, not this way, not the way we did it by saying, hey, we are just going to pass a law, have everybody covered, and assume we have suspended the laws of economics and insurance rates will not go up.

The gentleman mentioned that insurance rates have been rising over the years; you bet they have. And part of the reason for which is we have shielded insurance companies from competition. We don't allow them to sell insurance across State lines. And nowhere in this legislation do we allow them to do that. We also don't allow individuals to have the same purchasing power that companies have so you can't as an individual with pretax dollars go out and shop for health insurance. So we have shielded them from competition, and of course rates are going to go up. But they are going to go up rapidly now because we have imposed these costs upon them.

Again, when we talk about jobs, this seem to be the mantra now. If we can't allow the job-creating sector to create jobs by having a reasonable tax and regulatory environment out there, then we are just going to create government jobs. So that is what we are doing here. We are going to be borrowing $600 million because even if it is in another program, we are going to be borrowing that money, too. We are going to be borrowing $600 million and saying to people, we are going to create more temporary government jobs throughout the summer. That is not the answer to our economic woes.

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