Corker: “Stimulus” Package Is Nothing Short of a Disaster

Floor Remarks of U.S. Senator Bob Corker
February 6, 2009

I think that most people in the country realize that housing and credit are the foundations in this country which need to be stabilized so that we can build our economy again.

I know that there are a number of people on both sides of the aisle that are working in a "gang" mentality right now to try to make this package better. I certainly applaud people who work together in a bipartisan way to try to solve problems. In particular though, this stimulus package is nothing short of a disaster. And I think to try to make it 10 percent better, while admirable, is not really doing our country the justice that it deserves.

You know, I'm one of those people that likes to understand all the problems that we have together before taking action on one specific aspect. I want to understand everything as it is. And I know that the administration is coming forth in the next week or so to talk about their solution to our financial crisis.

I know there are many people in this country that believe we have trillions of dollars of losses still left in our financial system before we hit bottom, and I think that everybody realizes that as housing continues to drop, it is not just hurting our economy directly, it is also dragging our financial systems down.

Again, I appreciate those folks who are trying to work together to make this bill, which is a disaster in my opinion, slightly better. But, I wonder if it wouldn't make more sense for us as a country to just wait for a week or two to hear the rest of the administration's plans as it relates to solving this problem. I think for us to rush out and put forth $1 trillion in spending on top of a projected $1 trillion deficit without fully understanding the other issues that our country and the way that the administration plans to deal with these other issues is incredibly imprudent.

It would be like a business person knowing that they have a crisis at hand and not fully understanding what all of those components are and sort of throwing the whole shooting match into one of those and knowing that there are other things coming that they haven't thought about.

We have governors around the country from both sides of the aisle that are talking with us about what this is going to do to disrupt their states, because so much of this spending is programmatic. It has nothing whatsoever to do with creating jobs. I have to be honest. I may be rare. I don't understand how any of us could seriously talk about aid to states when our federal government is in the situation that it is today. States, generally speaking, run their states in appropriate ways. But, truly, governors on both sides of the aisle are wondering what they're going to do to the people coming after them because we're building this big fire hose of money coming into the state that they have to spend in stovepipe ways that will cause their successors who come after them to truly be in a very difficult situation.

That's why this gang has been formed, because there's tremendous unease, even on the other side of the aisle, with this package. Many people, I believe, are supporting this to show support for this new president who we all want to see well. All of us want to see him be successful.

I've had friends in life that, out of friendship to me, did not want to not support something that I was doing, when I would have much preferred after the fact them sharing with me the fact that what I was about to do was a really terrible idea. But instead they just went along and I ended up probably not doing as well as I might have done. I think there is tremendous unease in this body with this package. I think there are a lot of people that are holding their nose and supporting it out of support for this president that we all want to lead our country and this world successfully.

I would just urge people on both sides of the aisle to think about this, to vote their conscience, to not just go along, but in fact, to stop and pause and let's look at all the issues we're going to be dealing with. Let's ask the administration to come forth and talk to us about the price tag of dealing appropriately with the credit markets, with housing, and with maybe some directed spending on infrastructure or something that is not programmatic and doesn't disrupt the way that state government is run.

I feel like our country is getting ready to do something that we will regret and generations after us will regret. I am so concerned about where we are as an economy. I feel like we are using resources today so inappropriately when we're going to need those resources down the road.