Excerpt Of The Day: Thaddeus McCotter On the Bailout From The Floor Of The House

by John Hawkins | September 29, 2008 4:49 pm

From Thaddeus McCotter[1], the current Chairman of the Republican House Policy Committee and the man I’d like to see leading the Republican Party in the House after the 2008 elections.

“Thank you. I rise today not to change anyone’s mind but to express to my constituents my reasons for opposing this bill. There will always be time and pretext enough for people to compromise their principles and put forward poor public policy that may in the short run be popular but in the long run will be detrimental to the long-term interests of the American people. We learn this through history.

In the 1832 Bank Panic, Andrew Jackson had the question of whether he would remove the Bank of the United States’ charter. The people in the bank did not like that. They threatened the prosperity of the American people and in the middle of the panic Andrew Jackson looked at these bankers and said: “There are no necessary evils in government. The treasury to you, gentlemen, is closed.” This was an act of courage on the part of President Jackson because he understood what was at stake was not merely an ephemeral prosperity or a panic caused by the very people with their hand out. Andrew jackson understood this was about majoritarian rule. It was about the faith in the people’s representative institutions and those who inhabit the seats in which they are entrusted.

Today we are in a global financial bank panic. It is the first of our global economy. We are seeing a leveraged bailout of the United States treasury. And in the end these interests that want your money are threatening your prosperity. And the choice you face is this. You will lose potentially, for prosperity for a short period of time, at the expense of your long-term liberty. Once the federal government has got you to take that risk and pass it onto you as a quote-unquote moral hazard, they will be in the marketplace and as the free market is diminished your freedom itself is diminished. And as your Congress does not stand up to these and put forward a better plan that truly protects the taxpayers and truly has the long-term interests of the United States at heart, you will be in jeopardy of losing both your prosperity and your liberty.

The choice is stark and it was put forward in the book by Doestoevsky. In the Brothers Karamazov the Grand Inquisitor came to Jesus and he said if you wish to subject the people, give them miracle, mystery and authority; but above all give them bread. And it has always been the temptation in a crisis especially to sacrifice liberty for short-term promises of prosperity. And it was no mistake during that during the 1917 Bolshevik revolution the slogan was “Peace, land, and bread.” Today you are being asked to choose between bread and freedom. I suggest that the people on Main Street have said they prefer their freedom, and I am with them. I yield back.”

  1. Thaddeus McCotter: http://mccotter.house.gov/HoR/MI11/Home/

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