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Mr. YARMUTH. I yield myself 2 minutes.
Mr. Chairman, when families around the country try to deal with their budgetary issues and there are limited resources available, what they do is, they say, Well, we may have to borrow money; but if we're borrowing money, we're going to borrow it for survival--meaning necessities--or we're going to borrow it to make an investment that will pay off over time.
There are many things in this package that represent those two standards. Unemployment benefits represent necessities. Those are things our citizens need to survive for them and their families, and there are business tax credits in these bills that represent investments that will create jobs and stimulate economic activity. All of those are good things.
On the other hand, there are expenditures in this bill that don't meet either of those standards. These are the expenditures that give over $100 billion to the wealthiest citizens in this country, the ones whose net worth has dramatically increased over the last decade, who now, 1 percent of this country, control a vast majority of the wealth of this country. They have done extremely well. To give them more money when we're borrowing it is not the kind of priority we need to set. It does not represent an investment in jobs or in stimulative activity, and it does not represent necessities. These are bonuses to people who don't need them.
There are lots of good things in this bill. Unfortunately, the price for getting them is much too high. This is like going to the hospital when you're very sick, and the doctor says, You know, I'm going to give you $250,000 of care that's going to be really effective for you. It's going to make you well. Unfortunately, you're going to have to eat $100,000 worth of candy which will do nothing for you. This is the price that we are being asked to pay by Republicans in the Senate for the many good things in this bill. Always, government is about choices. Governing is always about choices and priorities. This is the wrong set of priorities for this country.
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Mr. YARMUTH. Mr. Chair, when most people borrow money--and go into debt--it's either for survival or for an investment that will pay off in the future.
Borrowing $114 billion from China to give massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans meets neither of those goals.
Over the last ten years, while economic growth has stalled and middle class wages have stagnated, the wealthy have been doing just fine. In fact, two-thirds of all the income gains made in this country over the last ten years have gone to the wealthiest one percent. And the top one percent now owns more financial wealth than the bottom 90 percent.
They clearly don't need any more help to get ahead.
This $114 billion tax giveaway to the rich is not an investment in our economy.
Just look at what happened in the decade that followed the passage of these cuts in 2001.
Even if you exclude the beginning of the recession, we saw the slowest economic growth since World War 2: fewer jobs created, fewer businesses started, fewer dollars injected into our economy.
So where did all that money go? Into the bank accounts of the wealthiest few. When their taxes were cut, they banked three times as much money than before. More money was stashed away rather than--as some would have you believe--put into business expansion or job creation.
That's why the Congressional Budget Office ranked an extension of these tax breaks LAST among the options we have to help grow the economy and create jobs.
There are things in this proposal that are about survival, like an extension of unemployment insurance to help the families hit hardest by this recession. There are investments, like the tax credits that will help small businesses expand.
But unfortunately--and ultimately--the long-term costs of this bill are far more damaging to our nation than these short-term gains.
Borrowing money to give tax cuts to the rich--tax cuts that are more than most families make in a year--is unconscionable.
Economics shows this is a dead-end. History proves it would be disastrous. And basic morality dictates that our priorities should focus on making our economy work for EVERYONE--not just the wealthy few.
I urge my colleagues to join me in standing against this proposal and its unacceptable price and yield back the remainder of my time.
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