The United States is now a year into one of the biggest economic crises of its history. All over the news and radio the talking heads are "explaining" what caused the problem. Too much regulation! Too little regulation! Republican policies! Democrat policies!
Historians and economists will be debating possible causes of this crisis for decades, but the American people need help now. The final bailout bill has a lot of raisins in it, but it's not a cookie.
I refuse to vote for a plan just because Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and President Bush say so. America currently has trillions of dollars of debt and Congress needs to explore every single possibility before even considering using $700 billion of taxpayer money.
The Bible, God's holy word, says in Psalms 30:5, "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." The first thing we must do is recognize that this crisis will not last forever.
We can find solutions and we must use this crisis as an opportunity to ensure that the markets and Main Street are protected in the future.
I support an insurance-based plan that would stabilize the markets, use private capital, eliminate corporate capital gains taxes, and reform the failures in government institutions. Not only do we need to stabilize the markets and allow small businesses to use credit, but we must also fix the problems that caused this mess.
The federal government is the major cause of this crisis. By using an insurance-based plan, we can build confidence in the markets by insuring accounts and keeping liquidity in the system.
We must also learn from the past. Previous government bailouts have proven that private capital is much more preferable to tax dollars. There are many well-run businesses and financial institutions which can and would purchase these mortgage assets, hold them until things settle, and sell them at a profit - if only given the opportunity.
Profits made by banks and businesses are always preferred to government profits. There must be an elimination of capital gains taxes to help corporations stabilize and pass profits on to their investors.
Paulson claims that the massive bailout will make a profit for taxpayers, but when was the last time you received a check from the government saying, "We just made a profit and wanted to share it with you"? Never!
Finally, we must reform the broken financial system. Freddie and Fannie need to be completely privatized, and their past CEOs investigated. There must be clear oversight and enforcement in accounting.
Fraudulent institutions should be severely penalized for lying to their investors and reporting false profits.
These are all changes that can be made with little cost to the taxpayer. The government does not need your money to solve this crisis. It just needs reform.
(Republican Rep. Paul Broun represents Georgia's 10th Congressional District.)
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