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Taxpayer-Funded Spending Spree

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. OLSON. Mr. Speaker, when Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act early this spring, the administration and congressional Democrats argued that a $800 billion taxpayer-funded spending spree was necessary to create jobs and grow the struggling economy. It was rushed through with little time to review the policies that would implement this massive spending plan.

I opposed this unwise scheme for many reasons. It will put an unbearable burden of debt upon our children and our grandchildren. It was loaded down with pork-barrel projects to pay back liberal special interest groups.

But I also opposed it because I believe and continue to believe that it will not grow jobs in our economy. The government is not nor should it be an employment service that mandates private-sector hiring decisions. Predictably, we are now seeing that these reckless spending decisions are not growing our economy. The June unemployment numbers saw the unemployment rate rise to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent. This translates into 467,000 jobs lost in the month of June alone.

Before passage of the ARRA, the Obama administration predicted that unemployment would peak at 8 percent before decreasing this fall. But unemployment has already reached 9.5 percent, and the situation is not likely to improve until long after the White House predicted.

However, the administration hardly has cause to be surprised. In fact, after they sold this massive Federal spending spree as a job creation measure, it turns out that jobs don't seem to be a priority at all.

I would like to bring my colleagues' attention to the funding announcement for the Smart Grid Investment Grants, which received $3.9 billion in the Recovery Act. The Vice President himself announced this grant in April when he said this is about jobs, jobs.

In the information provided to the applicants for this grant funding, one of the frequently asked questions is, Will DOE use a number of jobs estimated to be created and/or retained as a criterion for rating a proposal for funding? The answer: ``No.''

Le me repeat that again. Will jobs be used as a criteria to determine whether or not this project will be funded? The answer from the DOE is no.

In fact, the guidance goes on to say that DOE removed the criterion on the extent of jobs creation and now will require applicants to report quarterly on the number of jobs created and retained. Job creation was supposed to be the primary requisite for receiving recovery funds, and yet now has been changed to simply a reporting requirement. This is typical Washington. Instead of creating more jobs, we are creating more paperwork.

The Vice President now says they misread the economy, but the truth is they misread the solution. The stimulus bill was a grab bag of Democrat spending priorities, not a timely, targeted and temporary stimulus package. Government spending does not, does not, create jobs or wealth. It consumes it and destroys it.

We are throwing money at a problem that is not increasing consumer confidence, financial certainty or provide a business environment that will encourage job growth. Democrat policies are clearly, clearly, not creating jobs. I cannot, I cannot in good conscience justify throwing good money after bad. That only leaves a legacy of debt for our children and our grandchildren to pay.

I will continue to oppose policies that I believe hurt the American people and the people I represent, and I will gladly, gladly work with my colleagues across the aisle whenever there is an opportunity to do so because good policies that help Texans and help Americans aren't Republican, and they aren't Democrat; they are the right thing to do.


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