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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. It's absolutely my memory. And the reason I remember it is because there were a few of us in the House who were raising our hand at that time and saying what are we spending $700 billion on? The idea was the so-called purchase of toxic assets, which never did occur, and we said shouldn't there, A, be other alternatives considered; B, another implementation; and, C, shouldn't there be restrictions or strings, if you will, attached to some of this? All of that was dismissed and put aside. But you're absolutely correct. Senator Obama at that time supported it, as did the leadership of this House. Not only did they support it in this House, they pushed it through so quickly that none of us really had an opportunity. We never had any markup on this bill.
That's the other little frustrating thing about all of this, and the American taxpayer must be so frustrated with how, quote, ``their government,'' and it is their government, works, how Washington works. We spend the money today, and then a day or a week or a month from then, we'll come back and say we are going to have a hearing on this and see exactly what we spent the money on. We spent $350 billion, then $700 billion without so much as a markup on it, which is, for folks who don't know, the way the bill goes through and you can say I want to put this in or take that out. Without so much as a markup, we spend this $700 billion; then Congress can comes back and says let's take a look at this. We saw that on TARP 1. We saw that on TARP 2. In essence, you could say we did that on the stimulus as well. We rushed right through how many pages? I'm forgetting.
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. The American people get it, although we did that hear from our President here a couple of weeks ago. He said, ``I get it.'' Unfortunately, I don't think he does. I think what he does get is the idea of a new movement he is leading, and that is a movement of redistribution of the wealth in this country, and basically he's doing it by burdening the responsible taxpayer, the responsible family, the responsible American, and putting it on the irresponsible ones. And it's sort of funny, and maybe ``funny'' isn't right word for this, but if you look at the budget documents that came out, the title of it is ``An Era of Responsibility.'' This is anything but an era of responsibility.
And I will close with this: Just as I was hopeful in 2006 and 2007 for the Democrat leadership that they would be responsible in this area, I honestly was hopeful that when President Obama became the President that he would fulfill his pledge that he would give the American public and all of us in Congress the opportunity to have 4 or 5 days actually to have any bill up on the Web site so they could see it and read it and comment on it otherwise. And you pointed out so accurately that in this case with an 1,100-page bill, it went through and no one saw it.
Ms. FOXX. I wanted to say some of the same things. I think that you and I and conservatives here in Congress really were hopeful that when the Democrats took control of Congress, when President Obama was elected, that they would keep their promises.
I agree with you. We wanted change. We wanted to cut spending. We wanted an era of different government. But all we have dealt with has been a series of broken promises. One promise after another.
You highlighted the issue of not having 5 days to read the bill. I think that that's an extremely important thing. The American people take our job seriously even if some of our colleagues don't take their job seriously, but they expect us to be here to vote and they expect us to read the bills. I am getting more and more questions from people, have you read the bills? I am being much more diligent about reading bills these days because of that. But all we have gotten are broken promises from the President and from the Democrats who are in charge. And I think that's really a sad situation.
Earmarks, for example, as our colleague from Minnesota pointed out, the bill that was passed the other day, the omnibus bill that was passed the other day, had 8,500 earmarks in it. Now, it may be that some of those are worthwhile projects, but we had a promise from our President that he would not sign any bill with any earmarks in it. He would go through line item by line item and take those out. That is another promise that's gone by the wayside. It's just not going to happen.
I think what we are seeing is the comment that he made without his teleprompter that he does believe in wealth transfer. I think we know now why he always wants a teleprompter in front of him because when allowed to speak off the cuff sometimes he says some things that really reveal what it is. The comment about ``never let a crisis go to waste,'' of course, he didn't say that, his Chief of Staff said it. But the wealth transfer I think is something that the American people are beginning to understand.
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. And there was a whole bunch of points I wanted to raise on the things you said right then, but I will go with the whole bunch of them.
On the middle point with regard to taxation of capital gains and what have you, it may sound, at first blush, that when you say, well, we have to address the capital gains situation in this country, we are talking about the rich out there. But when you realize that as across the board, Americans are hurting generally pretty much across the board. A lot of people who are hurting are senior citizens, retirees, people who rely upon their pensions, whether it's union pension or private pension or otherwise.
They are saving to pay for college, what have you, they are seeing those funds go down. What can we do to try to turn that around?
I can't guarantee that it would turn around by tomorrow, but, as you said, pretty darn soon if you can get the trillions of dollars, as people say, are sitting on the sidelines and to start investing it. How can you do that?
You can do that in a couple of ways. You hit on the main ones by lowering the capital gains tax. Honestly, right now, people aren't saying I don't have any capital gains in this marketplace. But if you gave that incentive to say get into the market today, you will be tax free or have a lower rate, people would get off the side and they would get into the market immediately.
The other point that I just wanted to touch on, the other point here, I will spend 2 minutes on it. In the spending plan we have had in the last several weeks, actually several months now, we have had hundreds of billion of dollars. And this is a side note, other people are criticizing the other side of the aisle, how much debt the Bush administration added during their 8 years in office, it was something like $4.6 trillion in his 8 years in office.
Just in 3 years, it's doubling. But, basically, remember these numbers, President Bush was in office for 8 years, he saw it go up about 4.6. President Obama has been in office for less than 2 months or something like that, a month, and you will see the debt go up by $5.6 trillion in a 3-year period of time. It is incredible.
Part of that money, where is that money going to, deals with what the gentlelady from North Carolina was talking about before. And that is to the whole foreclosure situation, home pricing, what have you, and just follow with me on this.
Their argument is this, foreclosures are happening out there right now. We agree. That is causing problems across the board and it is causing a devaluation of people's homes across the board. Therefore, everyone must pay higher taxes, increase spending to try to prevent the foreclosure problem.
Now, you raised some of the avenues of what we could do to address foreclosure, and I can go into them as well. But I just want to give some facts, and I can do it with a picture. It's not a cartoon like Ms. Foxx had over there, actually had a picture. This was actually in USA Today, and what does this chart show, yes, it's pretty neat. It shows county-by-county the number of foreclosure actions, defaults and notices on auctions and repossessions per 1,000. Basically, this is a chart to show you where the problems are in this country.
So as people look at this and they think to the rhetoric that we hear from the other side that, Oh, there are a lot of foreclosures. Yes, the rate has gone up in specific areas out here in California, Arizona, and certainly down here in Florida and up in your neck of the woods as well. But the vast majority of the country, fortunately, is not seeing the systemic problems of more than 60, more than 40, or even more than 20.
What does that mean? That changes the whole nature of the discussion as to how we go about fixing the problem. If the problem is in certain areas, then you don't need a specific blanket approach across the board in order to do it. You don't need to raise taxes on small businesses or families in my neck of the woods or in your neck of the woods to solve the problem.
You need to target some of the relief. More importantly, you need some of the Republican solutions, and I'll yield back to you on this, as the RSC, the Republican Study Committee, has already come out with, addressing capital gains, corporate taxes, section 179, and the like, as far as encouraging businesses and individuals to get their entrepreneurial spirit going again.
Those sort of things will address this problem in a way that will affect everyone and improve lifting up the prices again and getting it back to the marketplace where we want it to be.
So I just wanted to bring that one little chart to try to set the record straight as to where the foreclosure problem is in this country, how it is actually impacting only a segment of the economy, and what we need to do is address this in a widespread approach, as I'm sure you're addressing and I'm sure the gentleman from Georgia would also like to address as well.
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. I was just going to raise that point. As I am standing here listening to your facts, I'm looking down at the floor at the well and I see President Obama's budget and the three points that are a takeaway from tonight: Spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much.
It spends too much of our current hard-earned dollars that everybody has to work so hard to earn; it taxes too much on the American family and the small business and the farmer; and it borrows too much from our children and our grandchildren because they will be the ones who actually pay for all this.
On the spending side of the equation, I know it's hard to get your hands around some of these numbers sometimes. You just did when you gave the number. First it was 2 million, then it was 3 million, then it was 4 million jobs that this administration said they were going to save. Whichever number it is, if you add it all up and divide it out, you're right, it comes to around $300,000 per job that they're going to be spending to save.
But it's a heck of a lot of people in my district, and I'm sure even more down in Georgia, who would love to have a $300,000 job, even if it is only for a week, a month, or half a year. That's the type of job, by the way, that the government's creating---short-term job. These are not careers.
Once this job screwing in light bulbs, which was one, or painting a fence, or another, once that job is done, that job is done.
So on the spending side of the equation, and you were alluding to this point before, what it means is we are getting to the point where around over a quarter of all the growth and wealth of this country--GDP, gross domestic product--all the growth and wealth, over 27 percent is going to be sucked right out of this country, across the borders, as my picture here of the United States, and brought right here to Washington or this body and all the bureaucrats to spend however they want to.
Is that what Americans want--more than a quarter of the wealth of this country to be spent right here as opposed out of their own pockets?
And taxing too much. You hit the numbers before as far as the tax rates and how it's going to hit on the families and the budgets. And the last one on borrowing too much, the debt of this country, again, it's impossible to wrap your hands around these things, but the debt of this country, the public debt will reach 58.7 percent of the GDP this year, and eventually rise to two-thirds of GDP in a couple of years.
Last time it was like that was in early 1950s after the war, and what have you, and it's been on a steady decline ever since even then. Charts show it's a rocket ship going right back up again, all in the last 3 months and projected over the next 10 years.
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. And health care issues, and we have a doctor here with us tonight, is obviously something we are all concerned about. We know too many people who are in small businesses who just say, I just can't afford to buy insurance for my employees. We know too many individuals who are not working right now, and they say they cannot afford to pay for the health insurance costs, not because doctors charge too much, and we have a doctor right here, but just because of the nature and the system that we have in place.
The system we have right now, again, to get back to the facts, we do not have a free market health care system in this country; we have a government-regulated monopolized system in this country. But we do agree, the three of us here, I believe, without putting words in your mouth, that we do have a problem with health care affordability for a vast majority of Americans, and we do need to address that. But you do not address that, as is done in President Obama's budget, which spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much, by putting in placeholders of $634 billion, which we do not have today, which goes to point three, borrows too much, that $634 billion to pay for our health care today, which will basically come from our kids and our grandkids. We do not solve the affordability issue by simply spending more money and taxing more money. You do it by ways that I know the good doctor has addressed on this floor before, by reforming the system, getting out inefficiencies in this system, providing for the competition on various levels under the system, to basically overhauling the system to make sure that health care is available to every American citizen, young and old alike. We have talked about that on the floor before. We need to do that. Spending, taxing, and borrowing is not going to fix the health care system.
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