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An Open Letter to Treasury Secretary Geithner

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Dear Mr. Geithner:

A year ago, you announced that America was in "Recovery Summer". Unfortunately, the American public, indeed most of the world, must have a very different definition than the administration of what constitutes "recovery".


More than two years ago, one of President Obama's first acts was an attempt to "stimulate" the economy. Dubbed the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act", America took a huge, expensive risk, borrowing and spending another $1.1 trillion we didn't have to begin with; yet recovery is nowhere to be found. For 28 straight months, unemployment has exceeded 8%, the ceiling the Obama Administration promised we'd never exceed if the Democrat Congress passed this massive stimulus.

If past is prologue, Mr. Geithner, then more government spending will not and cannot be the answer to America's economic problems.

Last August, in a column you penned in The New York Times, there was “good news to report.” Specifically, you pointed to what seemed then to be an uptick in private sector job growth; yet, an average 39,284 private sector jobs have been lost every two weeks since President Obama took office. You wrote that “businesses have repaired their balance sheets and are now in a strong financial position to reinvest and grow;" yet here we are, a year later, and businesses are still sitting on more than a trillion dollars in cash, a clear indication that they are leery of risking new investments with tax uncertainty and no change in the federal government’s balance sheet. And an ever-expanding regulatory framework coming out of our nation’s capitol adds fuel to this fire. What was touted by you and the administration as an “investment” in America has been anything but that.


America will find recovery when – and only when – Washington recognizes that it is a natural impediment to wealth and job creation.

Employers would like to invest in new projects and new employees, but uncertainties abound, preventing them from taking the risks necessary to do so. Your demand that we acquire more debt without a plan to pay down the current balance due is unsettling to job creators; they know that eventually the federal government will turn to them through increased taxes when Washington’s creditors are knocking at its door.

At the behest of President Obama, you have come before Members of the House requesting another multi-trillion dollar bailout of Washington's spending addiction. Instead of focusing all your efforts on raising the debt ceiling, the focus instead should be on what got us in this credit crisis at all.

Mr. Secretary, the only responsible thing to do is to find a real solution to make sure we never find ourselves in this situation again. Failure to raise the debt ceiling – we are told – will only delay recovery even longer. But given the miserable track record of this administration when it comes to economic predictions, we find it very difficult to accept your gloom-and-doom focus on the debt ceiling.


Recovery begins with recognizing how futile it is to inject government money into the economy as a way to achieve growth, and it ends with a firm commitment to spending only as much as the government takes in. Me and others in Congress are not willing to allow the government to extend its spending unless structural changes -- including cutting the deficit, capping spending and passing a balanced budget amendment -- are enacted which will prevent us from going down this path again.


Congressman Tim Huelskamp

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