By Sen. Charles Grassley
Q: How concerned are Iowans about the economy?
A: Iowans have shown up in large numbers at my town meetings and contacted me by phone, letter and email with deep concerns about the economy and the fiscal direction our country is heading. Many Iowans and businesses have fallen on tough times. Many know someone who has lost a job or is having trouble finding work. There is no quick fix to our economic problems. Coping with economic anxiety and managing through the hardship of job loss or reduced pay is very difficult. Looking ahead, I have tremendous confidence in the ingenuity and resilience of America to recover and rebuild. Our country has faced adversity time and again and always come out stronger and more prosperous.
Q: Why haven't the government's efforts to solve our economic problems worked?
A: Economic growth is achieved by working, saving and investing. America's economic problems can't be fixed by excessive deficit spending. In fact, that makes things worse. Many of the programs enacted this year like the economic stimulus package, the auto and bank bailouts and others have provided far too little, and sometimes nothing in return for the hard-earned tax dollars. Government spending takes money out of circulation for activities that lead to far greater economic opportunities and benefits for individuals, families and communities nationwide.
Q: How can America afford to increase the national debt?
A: We can't afford to endlessly increase the national debt. The federal government needs to tighten its belt. That means making tough choices just like every American family has to do right now. That's why there's real concern that the budget proposed this year by the President increases the national debt at an average annual rate that is three times the increase under the last administration. That is unsustainable and irresponsible. In Iowa, we understand that if you have big credit card balance, the last thing anyone should do is to borrow even more.
Q: What actions have you taken deal with the exploding national debt?
A: I voted in January against the second half of the $700 billion financial bailout program. I voted against the $787 billion stimulus plan enacted February. I voted against $410 billion bloated, pork-filled appropriations bill signed into law in March. I voted against the auto bailout in December and the deficit financed cash-for-clunkers twice. I've made it clear I will not support a health care reform bill that adds to our national debt. I'll continue to work in the U.S. Senate for an environment that fosters entrepreneurship, investment and expanded production to help create sustainable jobs to get America's economy running strong again.