Last year, some in Washington D.C. decided to expand the role of the federal government and use $700 billion in taxpayer dollars for a bailout of Wall Street. They called it the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
I voted against the bailout because it leaves taxpayers holding the $700 billion bag for the reckless actions of Wall Street, and because I am opposed to the federal government seizing control over the economy and the marketplace.
The TARP bailout granted almost limitless power over our financial system to the federal government and it lacked hard and fast protections to ensure taxpayers didn't foot the $700 billion bill. We are seeing the consequences of that today, as many in Congress are pushing to use any leftover bailout funds on other additional government spending.
Put simply, the Wall Street bailout was about bigger government and more spending, not creating jobs or growing our economy. That's why it is so troubling that those in power in Washington D.C. want to make this bailout permanent.
This month I voted for a proposal that would end the TARP Wall Street bailout and require that the funds be used to pay down our national debt.
When this common sense proposal was rejected by House Democrats, it sent a clear signal to Americans that this Congress has no intention of ending corporate bailouts and enacting policies that promote job creation and a strong economy. Those who control Congress instead chose to reverse a provision in current law requiring that bailout funds be repaid to the taxpayers by passing a bill that expands the TARP Wall Street bailout and makes it permanent.
At the same time, Congress is poised to raise the debt limit and create a second stimulus spending bill. In my view, this represents a move in the exactly the wrong direction. It's time to put an end the TARP Wall Street Bailout and put those funds back into paying down the debt. It's time to stop runaway federal spending, get the federal government out of the bailout business and put our nation on a positive economic path forward by allowing small businesses the freedom to invest and expand, creating a truly all-of-the-above American energy plan, and creating new fair trade opportunities.
- Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents Central Washington's Fourth Congressional District.