Weekly remarks: GOP's Thune says Obama's experiment has failed; Obama decries GOP threat to repeal Wall Street reform
Hello, I’m Senator John Thune of South Dakota. As you’ve probably noticed, we have an election coming up in a little over a week.
President Obama has been running around the country trying to reelect Democrat members of Congress.
But if the conversations I’ve had with voters are any indication, the president should spend less time campaigning to save the jobs of Democrats in Congress, and more time trying to create jobs for the American people.
All across South Dakota and the country, I've heard from people who aren’t fooled by President Obama's well-written speeches. They have serious concerns about our economy, and they are all too familiar with the Administration’s failed policies.
One of the Democrats' main responsibilities over the past two years was to improve the economy. Instead, they decided to try an experiment to grow government, raise taxes, and take over health care. After two years, the American people are left asking, ‘Why have the Democrats’ priorities been so different from ours?’
The Obama Experiment has failed.
When the president and his Democrat allies in Congress pushed through their $814 billion stimulus bill, they promised....
Unemployment has climbed to nearly 10 percent. Rather than create jobs, the Democrats expanded government, and now the American people are stuck with another bill for nearly a trillion dollars.
When the president was introducing his big government health care plan, he promised to reduce every family’s health insurance premiums by as much as $2,500. But premiums keep going up. Families in some states are seeing increases in the double digits. Here again, Democrats promised but didn’t deliver, and the American people are stuck with rising health care costs and another tab; this one for two-and-a-half trillion dollars.
The Democrats have controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress for nearly two years, and have proven that more government is not the answer. This year they were not even capable of passing a budget. Instead, they spent their time passing more and more burdensome regulations, like their so-called Financial Reform bill that failed to address the main cause of our economic mess.
Despite a dangerously high national debt that is closing in on $14 trillion, the president wants to spend even more money on these kinds of failed policies. And he appears intent on raising taxes to do it.
Giving Democrats more opportunities to manage the economy and spend taxpayer dollars will not give us the economic growth that we need. It will only lead to more growth of government bureaucracy, and to national bankruptcy.
There is a reason unemployment is stuck near ten percent.
There is a reason jobs are not being created.
There is a reason too many Americans who want a job can’t find one.
There is a reason the dollar is weak and our economy is not growing as it should.
The reason is that President Obama and Congressional Democrats have led this country in the wrong direction.
Government cannot be openly hostile to American businesses, and expect them to grow and create jobs.
Government cannot raise taxes during tough economic times, and expect small businesses to grow and create jobs.
A new direction is needed.
The president likes to say that when you want to drive forward you put your car in D, and when you want to go in reverse you put it in R. It’s a clever line, but when you’re speeding toward a cliff, you don’t want to keep the car in drive.
Republicans want to reverse the dangerous course the Democrats have us on.
Republicans want to reverse Democrats’ plan to raise taxes on the 750,000 small businesses in this country that employ 25 percent of all workers. So employers have more money to create new jobs.
Republicans support policies that will grow the economy, not the government.
Republicans want to repeal the flawed health care law that has been rejected by the American public, and replace it with a new plan that actually reduces costs. We want to reverse the uncertainty in the marketplace so that small businesses have the confidence to grow and invest and create jobs.
And Republicans want to reverse this nonsense of government bailouts and takeovers of private businesses.
Republicans have proposed real, concrete solutions to the challenges we face as a country.
We have learned the lessons not only of what hasn’t worked over the past two years, but what didn’t work the last time Republicans controlled Congress. Republicans are listening to the frustration being expressed by Americans all across this country, and we are determined to take this country in the right direction.
The choice could not be more clear. Democrats are driving more of the same failed policies they have pushed for the past two years. Republicans are proposing to take this country in a different direction.
So I would like to suggest a simple question people should ask themselves to help cut through all the talk: Are you better off today than you were two years ago? I’m Senator John Thune. Thank you for listening. ####
Over the past two years, we’ve won a number of battles to defend the interests of the middle class. One of the most important victories we achieved was the passage of Wall Street Reform.
This was a bill designed to rein in the secret deals and reckless gambling that nearly brought down the financial system. It set new rules so that taxpayers would never again be on the hook for a bailout if a big financial company went under. And reform included the strongest consumer protections in history -– to put an end to a lot of the hidden fees, deceptive mortgages, and other abusive practices used to tilt the tables against ordinary people in their financial dealings.
It was a tough fight. The special interests poured millions into a lobbying campaign to prevent us from reforming the system –- a system that worked a lot better for them than for middle class families. Some in the financial industry were eager to protect a status quo that basically allowed them to play by their own rules. And these interests held common cause with Republican leaders in Washington who were looking to score a political victory in an election year.
But their efforts failed. And we succeeded in passing reform in the hopes of ensuring that we never again face a crisis like the one we’ve been through – a crisis that unleashed an economic downturn as deep as any since the Great Depression. Even today, we are still digging out of the damage it unleashed on the economy. Millions of people are still out of work. Millions of families are still hurting.
We’re also seeing the reverberations of this crisis with the rise in foreclosures. And recently, we’ve seen problems in foreclosure proceedings -– mistakes that have led to disruptions in the housing markets. This is only one more piece of evidence as to why Wall Street Reform is so necessary. In fact, as part of reform, a new consumer watchdog is now standing up. It will have just one job: looking out for ordinary consumers in the financial system. And this watchdog will have the authority to guard against unfair practices in mortgage transactions and foreclosures.
Yet despite the importance of this law –- and despite the terrible economic dislocation caused by the failures in our financial system under the old rules –- top Republicans in Congress are now beating the drum to repeal all of these reforms and consumer protections. Recently, one of the Republican leaders in the Senate said that if Republicans take charge of Congress, repeal would be one of the first orders of business. And he joins the top Republican in the House who actually called for the law to be repealed even before it passed.
I think that would be a terrible mistake. Our economy depends on a financial system in which everyone competes on a level playing field, and everyone is held to the same rules – whether you’re a big bank, a small business owner, or a family looking to buy a house or open a credit card. And as we saw, without sound oversight and common-sense protections for consumers, the whole economy is put in jeopardy. That doesn’t serve Main Street. That doesn’t serve Wall Street. That doesn’t serve anyone. And that’s why I think it’s so important that we not take this country backward – that we don’t go back to the broken system we had before. We’ve got to keep moving forward. Thanks. ####
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Photo credits: Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press (lone worker vents hot air from the Capitol); Thune's office; Pete Souza / White House.