by FISG, Tue Feb 17, 2009 at 10:26:10 AM EST
I am amazed at how quickly a "freshman" congressman learns to play GOP "follow the leader" instead of actually showing support for his constituents. Glenn Thompson has learned quickly indeed.
This is the letter he sent me to justify his voting "no" on the stimulus bill.
Thank you for contacting me regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly referred to as "the stimulus" bill. I appreciate hearing from you and value your opinion on this important matter.
The American people are suffering from unstable housing markets, staggering job losses, and an overall lack of confidence in our financial system. In the fall of 2008 Congress made an apparently unsuccessful attempt to bring stability to the credit markets with passage of the $750 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). While I was not a member of Congress at the time, I strongly opposed this package - the majority in Congress simply did not address the root of the problem.
For several years aggressive policies here in Washington encouraged homeownership for all Americans, often on shaky terms and for too many who could not afford it. While an admirable goal, these policies needed to place focus on educating new homeowners and providing opportunities that would assist in the responsible growth of homeownership in America.
Unfortunately, these economic troubles have spread to other portions of the economy and Congress cannot afford to be silent. On January 28th the House took up a stimulus package that I could not support because once again, the Democrats who control Congress did not address the root of the problem. Rather than producing a bipartisan measure that empowered smart government solutions through incorporating tax cuts for hard working American families, the majority effectively locked the Republican minority party out of negotiations and loaded the bill with costly direct spending on expansions of programs that have nothing to do with stimulating the economy.
While there were many worthwhile programs included in the package that I whole heartedly support, such as increased funding for shovel ready transportation and infrastructure projects, we have learned from the failures of TARP that Congress must stop throwing our taxpayer's money at our problems. I was extremely disappointed to find in the end, transportation and infrastructure was not even 3.5% of the final bill - less than a one year of federal highway funding to the states. Unfortunately, this bill is nothing more than an expansion of big government and will cost upwards of $1.7 trillion. More egregious, is that fact that this stimulus package will only put 11 percent of that money in the marketplace during 2009.
Following my promise of always working to ensure your tax dollars are wisely spent here in Washington, I have joined with my colleagues in supporting an alternative plan that will create twice the jobs at half the cost.
o We must provide tax relief for working families; therefore we must lower the individual and joint tax rates, which will keep more money in the taxpayer's pocket.
o Small businesses employ most of the American workforce. These businesses keep our economy afloat, yet often face tax rates that absorb upwards of 40% of their profits. By providing relief for these small businesses they will be able to expand and in turn hire more employees.
o Unemployment benefits for those workers who have lost their jobs are currently taxed as income. Congress must suspend taxes on unemployment and let those facing tough times focus on providing for their families.
o The housing markets must be stabilized and confidence in the markets restored. One immediate way would be to encourage federal tax incentives to expand the supply of affordable housing available for purchase by qualified individuals and first time home buyers.
Tax incentives alone cannot create jobs, however direct spending must be targeted and precise or we run the risk of continuing to throw money at the problem. As we move forward, I look to work with the Administration, Democrats, and my fellow Republicans in achieving non partisan, smart government solutions. These goals can only be achieved through the democratic process, not top down
governance that prevents input from the elected officials the people have chosen to represent them. Together we can work to stabilize our housing markets and get America through these tough times, back to work, and looking forward to future prosperity.
Again, thank you for contacting me. For more information on my policies and happenings around the 5th District, please visit my website at www.thompson.house.gov. There you can sign up to receive periodic updates via my e-newsletter, The Thompson Times.