First, the federal government doesn't have the money. Washington is running a record annual deficit of $455 billion, and that deficit is projected to reach an astounding $1.2 trillion this year. In addition, the gross federal debt is $10 trillion, or almost $33,000 per citizen. We're approaching a tipping point whereby creditors will be unwilling to buy government debt.
Second, even if we could afford it, this bill doesn't actually stimulate. With any stimulus package, our goal should be to swiftly pump money into the economy, create jobs and free up credit. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which analyzes the financial dimensions of legislation, estimates that only 64 percent of the funding in the Senate bill would actually be spent within the next two years. Market trends indicate that even without government interference the economy should begin rebounding on its own within two years, at which point "stimulus" spending would only add to our debt burden rather than help the economy.
Ultimately, this "solution" will result only in the accumulation of greater debt that will fall on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren while not providing what we need today. Moreover, it will leave us vulnerable to future economic challenges. A better proposal would emphasize tax relief so that individuals and businesses can have more capital to inject into the economy, thereby encouraging private-sector job creation. It would also guard against government expansion. In short, we should promote permanent private sector jobs, not a permanent increase in spending and debt.
I am eager to work in a bipartisan fashion toward a speedy and sustainable recovery. But we have to ensure that any stimulus package is balanced, reasonable in size, and targeted specifically to job creation, keeping people in their homes and overall economic growth. The plan before us lacks these objectives. What we have learned is that excessive spending may prolong a recession. Moving forward, we must carefully consider the spending decisions before us.
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