Iowa's Fiscal Wolf in Conservative Clothing
by Paul Deaton “What
he really means is that he has become a devoted member of the party of
“no” in Washington and is busy obstructing the progress of Democrats as
they deal with the financial legacy he left when his party was in power.”
In an interview with the Sioux City Journal's editorial board last week, Senator Chuck Grassley asserted that “I have a record of fiscal conservatism.” If fiscal conservatism means approving the Bush Tax Cuts without a way to pay for them, funding the Iraq war outside the normal budgetary process and raising the debt ceiling, all of which Grassley did during his tenure as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Iowans should want no part of a sixth term for the incumbent United States Senator. Instead we should support Democrat Roxanne Conlin to replace Grassley as our US Senator.
Senator Grassley represents as “fiscally conservative” in comparison with the other members of the 111th Congress. What he really means is that he has become a devoted member of the party of “no” in Washington and is busy obstructing the progress of Democrats as they deal with the financial legacy he left when his party was in power.
As this week's numbers indicate, the economic problems to which Grassley contributed have the country in a much worse financial position than expected. Gross domestic product fell last month to an anemic 1.6%, indicating that the country could plunge into another recession. Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Ben Bernanke responded to concerns in a speech given this week at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Fed said that the central bank was prepared to step in if necessary to help provide additional stimulus to the economy and avoid the type of debilitating deflation that struck Japan in the 1990s.
Grassley criticized the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or stimulus bill, during his editorial board meeting saying it failed to stimulate the economy. The author's criticism of Grassley is why did he fail to stop the irresponsible spending when he was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the Republicans were in power? That would have indicated fiscal conservatism and perhaps would have helped the country avoid the financial collapse of 2008.
If the action of the stimulus bill was not bold enough, if the actions of the Fed proved to be inadequate, then these things are evidence of how badly the Republicans impacted the economy while they were in power recently. As Vice President Biden said this week, “After months of promising a look at his party’s agenda and their plans for America, (Representative John Boehner, R-OH) made what was billed as a major economic address. And his chief proposal apparently was that the President should fire his economic team. Very constructive advice, thanks.
So, let's just review a little history here: For eight years before we arrived, Mr. Boehner and his party ran this economy and the middle class into the ground.
They took the $237 billion surplus they inherited from the Clinton Administration and left us with a $1.3 trillion deficit, and, in the process, quadrupled the national debt – all before we had turned on the lights in the West Wing.
They gave free rein to the special interests to write their own rules at the expense of everybody else.
And the sum total of it was the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression—a crisis that wreaked havoc on families and businesses across this country–a crisis from which we are still digging out.”
Iowa's Senator Grassley was an architect of the Republican economic policy during his tenure as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and we should remember that during this election cycle.
Someone we know, Tom Fiegen, said last week, “The weak durable goods orders report this morning coupled with the continuing slump in housing is not good news as we head into fall. More happy talk and extending the Bush tax cuts is not the answer. Watching the 2010 election unfold feels like a repeat of the 1930s and the return of the Dark Ages.”
Let's work towards another direction by electing Democrats in 2010. This year, a vote for Senator Grassley is a vote for more of the same. A vote for Roxanne Conlin is a vote to support the efforts of Democrats to undo the havoc created when Republicans were in power. Our state and the nation need to move from the party of “nope” to the party of “hope” by casting a vote for Roxanne Conlin for U.S. Senator.
~Paul Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend
editor of Blog for Iowa. E-mail Paul Deaton