Monday, September 29, 2008

Westmoreland Opposes Bailout

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland today voted against the $700 billion bailout plan, but pledged his support for returning to work on the issue immediately after Rosh Hashanah.

“As the financial crisis has unfolded over the past year, we’ve slowly watched the dominos drop one after another and we’ve seen one bailout after another,” Westmoreland said. “Each time we were told: ‘This bailout is going to fix the problem.’ We’ve already spent hundreds of billions of dollars that our government does not have and yet the problems continue to deepen. I’ve read all the documents and listened to the experts and no one can say – not even with nearly $1 trillion on the line – that this will work.

“Undoubtedly, this is one of the toughest votes that I’ve taken in Congress. When faced with a tough decision, I rely on my principles – that smaller government is better and that markets work better bureaucratic decisions. While this bailout may work in the short term, I’m concerned greatly about the long-term consequences. When government willingly steps in to rescue people from risky behavior, government creates an incentive for future risky behavior. When businesses accept greater regulation in order to receive a bailout, we enlarge government, distort markets and render capitalism less efficient.

“I do believe that our nation faces great financial challenges right now, and I believe that Congress should act. But the House should not appropriate up to $700 billion for a bill that didn’t exist until a few days ago and that never went through one committee hearing. This legislation costs way too much to pass through Congress with so little scrutiny. If the process is broken, the product is flawed. Combined with war costs, other bailouts and the stimulus packages, we can’t afford to be wrong with a price tag this high.

“I have supported an alternative plan that would lower taxes and regulations to create an incentive for private money, foreign and domestic, to flow back into the credit markets. Unfortunately, alternative versions were shut out of this closed process.”
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