by Congressman Mike Turner
Working American families have unfortunately felt the crunch of our nation’s economic downturn. As budgets have become tighter, families have had to make tough choices on how they spend their hard earned money. While American families have been making these tough decisions, Congress has spent the last year, under two different administrations, passing massive spending bills that have failed to effectively resuscitate our national economy. One such bill was the recently passed nearly $800 billion federal spending package. While some of the allocated funds are worthwhile, I opposed the bill because it spends money we don’t have on a number of programs that won’t stimulate our economy.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) continues a dangerous and unfortunate trend of the federal government spending money that it does not have. The astronomical level of spending in this bill places a tremendous amount of debt onto the shoulders of both current and future taxpayers. In order to pay for these measures, our government will likely be forced to either borrow from foreign nations or simply print more currency. Both of these options place the American people in a precarious situation, and may lead to a dangerous level of inflation down the road.
Moreover, this legislation follows closely on the footsteps of other recent proposals. Since early 2008, I have opposed the passage of literally trillions of dollars in stimulus plans and bailouts that were poorly thought out and poorly explained. Despite my opposition, some of these packages were passed into law and have since proven largely ineffective. Americans have looked toward their leaders in this difficult economic climate expecting to see true bipartisanship and real results. Unfortunately, this has not happened.
We have been told too often over the course of the past year that our future economic security demands that we quickly pass the next massive spending program. I opposed the original bailout of the financial institutions in 2008 because I believed it was poorly thought out and that it did very little to help both our national economy and those families that urgently need assistance. Our continued economic predicament proved these concerns to be valid. Real economic reform must be achieved through responsible and well thought out policy, rather than through out of control spending.
While I disagreed strongly with many aspects of the legislation, the bill has a number of important provisions that I support and have voted for in the past, including extending unemployment benefits for workers and families. I know that these services are particularly important in communities such as Clinton, Highland, and Montgomery Counties that are dealing with the impact of waves of significant job losses. I have consistently supported extending these payments and believe that this is an important local and national priority. I also support funding infrastructure improvement projects as I believe these will eventually create much needed jobs and provide vital assistance to our local economy.
Our country now stands at a critical moment in its history and it is imperative to approach these difficult problems with a clear and balanced mindset. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reach a responsible solution to the challenges facing our nation.