Republican Congressman Calls for End to Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts
"It is time for Congress to stand up and say no more bailouts," said Tiahrt on Feb. 26, the same day he introduced the resolution. "We have passed hundreds of billions in bailout after bailout, yet the recipients are in worse shape now than they were last summer. This avalanche of enormous government spending must end.”
Tiahart also spoke about his bill at the Conservative Political Action Conference, which wrapped up over the weekend. He was part of a panel that opposes recent government moves to bail out private industry.
The $700-billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) was passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by then-President George W. Bush. The bulk of the money went to bail out financial institutions, and a significant chunk went to auto companies.
Tiahrt argues that the first $350 billion installment of TARP did not work. His legislation would prohibit the second $350-billion payment and any future corporate bailouts.
"Imagine putting a dollar in a Coke machine and nothing comes out," he said. "How long would you continue to repeat that process?”
Turning to tax dollars, Tiahrt asked, "What are we going tell Congress?" He then led the group in a chant of "No more bailouts, no more bailouts."
The panel discussion was titled "Bailing Out Big Business: Are We All Socialists Now?" (A recent “Newsweek” cover story declared, "We Are All Socialists Now.")
Tiahrt was joined on the CPAC panel by freshman Republican Rep. Jason Chafettz of Utah, who ran against the bailout last fall.
"The best way to solve the problem is [by] not spending," Chaffetz said. "We can no longer run the country on a credit card."
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) said the bailouts are setting the stage for an even larger federal intervention in the economy. "If we can spend $700 billion to bail out Wall Street, why can't we spend $600 billion on health care? That's where this is going," Garrett said.
Democrats are using a creeping form of socialism, said Fred Smith, president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-enterprise think tank.
Smith said the government has "moved away from honest socialism of the past," of outright government ownership to embracing government-controlled corporations such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as government bailouts with strings attached, which allow greater federal control over the market.