U.S. Rep. Paul Broun said his two votes against a $700 billion bailout bill were because the bill did too much for Wall Street and too little to fix the problem.
"We've done nothing to change the underpinnings of this financial crisis," said the Watkinsville Republican, speaking at a Wednesday meeting of the Greater Columbia County Republican Women at Jones Creek Golf Club.
Georgia Insurance and Fire Commissioner John Oxendine, a 2010 candidate for governor, also spoke at the meeting.
Broun was one of 171 representatives to vote against the bill when it passed the House. President George Bush signed the bill into law Oct. 3.
Thus far, the bill has failed to halt stocks from plummeting and thaw a credit freeze.
Broun blamed former President Bill Clinton and other Democratic leaders for the current state of the U.S. economy because they required banks to make bad loans in the name of affordable housing through the Community Reinvestment Act. He then said the federal government used Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as a safety net to absorb those bad loans.
Broun said he also dislikes that the bailout bill essentially establishes U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as a national finance czar more concerned with helping business cronies instead of taxpayers.
"Hank Paulson is worth over $800 million and he's bailing out his buddies on Wall Street," he said.
Congress might spend as much as $1.5 trillion in its attempt to rescue the financial markets, he added.
Broun said Democrats blocked his and other Republicans' attempts to find a solution to the crisis within the private sector. His strategy for improving the economy includes suspending the capital gains tax for two years, creating a market for tax-free mortgage-based securities, repealing the Community Reinvestment Act and privatizing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
"We've got to stimulate small businesses and create jobs," he said.
Given his turn to speak, Oxendine said he wants to save taxpayer dollars by shrinking government.
"We have too many government agencies," he said.
Oxendine believes state lawmakers could better meet annual budgets by finding ways of consolidating government services.
"I want to fundamentally change the way government functions in this state," he said.
Too often, lawmakers are slapping "shiny band-aids" on problems as a means to appeal to voters.
"We've got to stop putting band-aids on problems," he said. "We've got to fix them."
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