Senator Chuck Grassley issued the following comment about his vote against President Obama’s proposal to spend $447 billion for economic stimulus.
“Since the 2009 stimulus bill was enacted, it’s unclear that anything’s been done to better safeguard the taxpayer dollars that would be pumped out in a second massive government spending bill like this one, despite the wasteful spending we saw with the first stimulus bill. My own oversight pinpointed money for housing assistance squandered by gross mismanagement, funds going to contractors and grantees who owed the government hundreds of millions of dollars in tax debts, stimulus dollars directed to school districts known for poor fiscal management, big spending for electronic records conversion in a health technology system not yet prepared to handle it, programs to create green jobs that didn’t result in any jobs, and trouble even defining what qualified as a green job. Weatherization grants funded by the first stimulus program even created safety hazards because monitoring, testing and tracking the work fell by the wayside.
“What’s more, President Obama’s first stimulus bill didn’t keep the unemployment rate down, and it’s unclear how this one would create and sustain jobs. Beyond that, whatever the details of the tax increase, there’s plenty of evidence that raising taxes in a struggling economy only makes things worse. Plus, since World War II, every dollar in new taxes has resulted in $1.17 in government spending. We need to reduce government spending, not increase it. Growing deficits and debt get in the way of economic growth and opportunity.
“Instead of a proposal that emphasizes higher taxes and more government spending, it’s time for a new approach in Washington for economic recovery. Private-sector employers need more certainty. They need to know that higher taxes and more burdensome regulations are not just around the corner. They need an international trade agenda that opens up new opportunities to sell U.S. manufactured products and services. Affordable energy is needed, too. It’s time to ramp up production of traditional energy sources here at home and to expand alternative and renewable energy sources. Above all, Washington needs to do what it can to give employers confidence and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of big and small businesses nationwide.”
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