The Daily Times editorial board held an phone interview with U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey yesterday, in which many things but mostly the economy was discussed.
Toomey, as he has been doing throughout the campaign, criticized the $800 billion stimulus program, claimed it a failure and told us he'd have supported a payroll tax holiday for three years, which would have very quickly put money back into the hands of businesses and consumers. He said that money would have allowed many businesses to keep employees that they ended up having to lay off instead - and workers, money to spend to keep the economy churning.
Any other stimulus should have gone into real infrastruction projects. Instead most of the money was spent t bailing out state governments, allowing them to keep public employees on government payrolls and postpone cutting programs that are going to have to be cut next year because there will be no more stimulus. As Obama disengenously says, "We're out of money." We never had the money in the first place.
In short, the Obama Administation and the Democratic Congress blew it. Even Democratic congressional candidates, who claim it staved off even higher unemployment in the short term, admit the stimulus was ill directed. There were no "shovel ready" projects as claimed by the Team Obama. And their claim that the stimulus would hold unemployment to 8 percent, proved to disastrously wrong, both for workers and Democrats.
Toomey spoke credibly about what led up to economic collapse, the housing bubble, which was created government policy that encouraged people who couldn't afford to buy homes to buy them anyway. Quasi-government agencies Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac blew the bubble even bigger by guaranteeing mortgages (with taxpayer dollars).
Even Barney Frank, who was one of the driving forces behind allowing Fannie and Freddie to accept these risks, now admits it he had his "ideological blinders" on at the time. And Joe Sestak, who may know something about commanding an aircraft carrier, but very little about credit default swap and derivative trading, voted with Barney and the rest of the party to expand the bubble ever bigger.
It was apparent that it annoys Toomey to no end to have Sestak claim that he (Toomey) is responsible for the economic crisis, when he was one of the first people to recognize the dangers of such loose money. He points out that when he was in Congress he was one of the few who tried to reign in Fanny and Freddy but failed thanks to lack of support from Democrats and a few Republicans who refused to see the writing on the wall.
It also annoys Toomey that Sestak continues to question his motives in arguing for smaller government, lower taxes and fewer burdens on small businesses so more jobs can be created. The Sestak campaign suggest all Toomey is interested in is helping his greedy Wall Street buddies make more money. That's pure demagoguery, Toomey said. He doesn't question Sestak's motives for arguing for greater stimulus spending, cap and trade legislation, government mandates in healthcare and the like. He just thinks Sestak's approach is wrong for the country.
What they have, says Toomey, is a philosophical difference in what the best direction is for the country to go. He thinks less government intrusion into the economy and more freedom and creativity in the private sector will do a better job in creating prosperity than government-run and directed programs.
For his free-market beliefs, the Sestak campaign suggests in its ads that Toomey would make a better senator for Red China, than the United States. Actually, it's Joe who is closer philosophically to the Red Chinese model of governing.
Toomey doesn't say that. I say that.
But it couldn't be more clear. Sestak supports a heavy government hand over the entire U.S. economy. He and many of his fellow Democrats think the problem in this country is that government doesn't have enough control of things. He thinks if the government exercised more power, spent more money, it could help more people. He's a government man. He has been his whole life. Government has been good to him, rewarded him for all his hard work. Why shouldn't he like it and admire it back?
At the end of his interview Toomey said that if voters think the stimulus program was a good thing, that cap and trade and greater government intrusion into the healthcare system and other industries have been good for America, they should vote for Joe.
If not... well, the choice is pretty clear.