July 6, 2010

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) gave the Republican response to the Predident's weekly address and Steve Benen summed this up nicely, so I'm going to let him take it from here.

This week offered new evidence that our fragile economic recovery is on very shaky ground. The monthly job totals from June were deeply disappointing. The real estate market continues to struggle badly. Reports on construction spending and manufacturing activity both disappointed. [...]

But that's why Chambliss' GOP response is so striking. His articulation of the Republican message of the week sent an unmistakable signal about exactly what the minority party considers important right now. [...]

So, literally just one day after the release of the worst monthly jobs report since October, and with a genuine employment crisis undermining the economy, the official Republican message of the week is to talk about the debt -- a debt, by the way, that grew by $5 trillion during the Bush/Cheney era because of breathtaking Republican recklessness.

How many times did Chambliss mention the word "jobs"? Literally none. How many references were there to "unemployment"? Zero. What did Chambliss offer in terms of ideas to improve the economy? There weren't any -- he didn't talk about growing the economy at all.

The most important issue on the minds of Americans went completely ignored, because the GOP has decided a different issue matters more than the economy.

Steve wrapped it up by noting that the Republicans have no intention of even trying to create jobs and he's right. The fact that they want this economy destroyed for political gain has been painfully obvious to anyone paying attention for a long time now.

For more on Steve's point about Republican recklessness causing our current deficit, he also had a link to this chart in his mini-report for this morning that's well worth sharing. "Reminder, The Deficit You're Freaking Out About Is Bush's Fault." Just because the right doesn't want to hear it doesn't mean it's wrong. More on that here as well. Critics Still Wrong on What’s Driving Deficits in Coming Years Economic Downturn, Financial Rescues, and Bush-Era Policies Drive the Numbers Here's the chart from the article.


Transcript of Chambliss' remarks below the fold.

Hello, I'm Senator Saxby Chambliss from Georgia.

Before I begin my remarks, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of a colleague, Senator Robert Byrd. The longest-serving senator ever, he had the greatest respect for the rules and traditions of the Senate, and for all three branches of government. He defended them with passion and vigor. I extend my deepest sympathies to Senator Byrd's family.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. From the village squares of New England to the palm-fringed beaches of California, and from the courthouse green in my hometown of Moultrie, Georgia, to windswept prairie cities and beyond, Americans are gathering this weekend to celebrate our nation's birthday.

Amid the red-white-and-blue bunting and family picnics, many of us will listen to....

...the words of a document, published 234 years ago, that urged Americans to throw off the yoke of a king and make their own destiny as an independent nation and a free people.

Signing the Declaration of Independence was a daring move by brave, thoughtful men. By embarking on such a bold experiment, they risked life and limb to create a nation based not on ethnicity or religion or geographic boundaries, but one based solely on ideas.

The Declaration of Independence is, quite simply, a textbook of freedom.

As the Declaration's parchment has yellowed with age, America has become a rich nation whose ideals and economy have been the envy of the world. We have faced down many enemies at home and abroad.

But one of the most dangerous threats confronting America today doesn't come from without, but from within. And I'm talking about our national debt.

Wisely, the Declaration's author, Thomas Jefferson, warned of this danger early on. As he once said, “There does not exist an engine so corruptive of the government and so demoralizing of the nation as public debt. It will bring us more ruin at home than all the enemies from abroad against whom this Army and Navy are to protect us.”

As usual, Jefferson was right.

At a time when many Americans are clipping coupons and pinching pennies, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress continue to spend money that they – we – do not have.

Three weeks ago, America's national debt topped $13 trillion. And let me say that one more time: $13 trillion is owed by the United States of America today. That number is so big it's difficult to comprehend.

If you take that $13 trillion and divide it by the number of Americans, that's $42,000 for every person in this country.

The national debt has risen by $2.4 trillion in the 500 days since President Obama took office. That's an average of nearly $5 billion a day.

Even though we have to borrow 43 cents of every dollar we spend and the debt is set to double in five years, Congress and this White House still continue to splurge.
More than half of the $9 trillion in debt America will accrue in the next decade will be from interest alone. That money could be better used on national defense or returned to taxpayers.

Instead, future generations will be forced to pay higher taxes to foot the bill for Democrats' out-of-control spending.

And with much of America's debt being held by other nations – such as China – our national debt is also a national security issue. No less than the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, said last month, “I actually believe that the biggest national security threat we have is our national debt.”

Just as with our energy and food supplies, America is vulnerable when we disproportionately rely on other nations. It is a matter of great concern that we are in deep debt to countries that often don't share our values or positions.

At some point we have to say “enough is enough.” We have to make tough decisions about spending beyond our means.

I continue to hope that President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and others will take a step toward responsibility and restraint, and reject the path of reckless spending that America is presently on.

Ours is a great nation. We can be even greater if we heed Jefferson's words and secure America's fiscal future.

I wish all Americans a happy Independence Day. As this weekend's fireworks simulate the rockets' glare, I hope each of us will pause and think of our men and women in uniform who are facing real rockets, bombs and bullets in faraway places. We are grateful for their service.

May God bless them, and may God continue to bless our nation. Thank you.

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