In the News

Each weekend as I travel around our state I hear example after example of the hardships Tennesseans are facing as a result of economic uncertainty and financial situations that, in many cases, are beyond their control.

I understand why the American people are looking to Washington for an appropriate policy response.

Sadly, the legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Obama will spend nearly a trillion dollars (of borrowed money to be paid by future generations) but is not a response that will solve the issues that created our economic crisis — credit and housing.

Most people involved believe we still have, at a bare minimum, at least a trillion dollars of losses coming in our financial system. All across Tennessee, we hear from businesses of every size, large and small, experiencing tremendous difficulties accessing affordable credit and maintaining normal business operations, which creates a downward spiral and negative feedback loop in our economy.

Get banks lending

To turn our economy around, our priority should be to address the problems in our credit markets and get banks lending again.

While certain parts of the market are beginning to show signs of thawing, until the government and/or the market finds a solution for the bad assets and loans on banks' balance sheets, banks cannot resume the lending that will do more to restart the economy than the trillion dollar bill passed by Congress.

Additionally, we need to take steps to stabilize our housing market. An overextension of credit and an unsustainable rise in home values across the country accelerated this crisis.

As long as the demand for homes remains low, prices remain depressed and the inventory continues to be increased by foreclosures, finding accurate pricing and future modeling for loan losses and securitizations is extremely challenging.

Capitalizing on fear

Unfortunately, many in Washington have capitalized on our economic crisis and the fear it has created in citizens across America as a reason to borrow and spend hundreds of billions of dollars on years of pent-up programmatic and social spending.

I know our country is experiencing tremendous economic turmoil and people are hurting, but until the housing and credit markets are dealt with in a serious and real way, anything else we do for the economy is just throwing good money after bad.

Like all Americans, I'm anxious for us to solve these fundamental problems and for job growth to return, but when that occurs, I'm convinced it will not be a result of the so-called stimulus package.

In fact, it is my strong belief that most Americans will look up in 24 or 36 months and realize they are left paying the tab for something that will have very little tangible benefit to our country.

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