Opinion: Weekly remarks: Saxby Chambliss on ‘reckless’ Democratic debts; Obama on the jobs hole
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Editor’s Note: As our own July 4th tradition, The Ticket will as usual be republishing the Declaration of Independence in this space one minute after midnight on Sunday. The item also contains a musical video of the Star Spangled Banner, sung by one of our very own Ticket readers,a professional named Amiena. Don’t miss it and please share with others on the nation’s birthday.
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. ####
This week, I spent some time in Racine, Wis., talking with folks who are doing their best to cope with the aftermath of a brutal recession.
And while I was there, a young woman asked me a question I hear all the time: “What are we doing as a nation to bring jobs back to this country?”
Well, on Friday, we learned that after 22 straight months of job loss, our economy has now created jobs in the private sector for 6 months in a row. That’s a positive sign.But the truth is, the recession from which we’re emerging has left us in a hole that’s about 8 million jobs deep. And as I’ve said from the day I took office, it’s going to take months, even years, to dig our way out – and it’s going to require an all-hands-on-deck effort.
In the short term, we’re fighting to speed up this recovery and keep the economy growing by all means possible. That means extending unemployment insurance for workers who lost their job. That means getting small businesses the loans they need to keep their doors open and hire new workers. And that means sending relief to states so they don’t have to lay off thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers.
Still, at a time when millions of Americans feel a deep sense of urgency in their own lives, Republican leaders in Washington just don’t get it. While a majority of Senators support taking these steps to help the American people, some are playing the same old Washington games and using their power to hold this relief hostage – a move that only ends up holding back our recovery. It doesn’t make sense.
But I promised those folks in Wisconsin – and I promise all of you – that we won’t back down. We’re going to keep fighting to advance our recovery. And we’re going to keep competing aggressively to make sure the jobs and industries of the future are taking root right here in America.
That’s one of the reasons why we’re accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy and doubling our use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power – steps that have the potential to create whole new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America.
In fact, today, I’m announcing that the Department of Energy is awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional commitments to two solar companies.
The first is Abengoa Solar, a company that has agreed to build one of the largest solar plants in the world right here in the United States. After years of watching companies build things and create jobs overseas, it’s good news that we’ve attracted a company to our shores to build a plant and create jobs right here in America. In the short term, construction will create approximately 1,600 jobs in Arizona. What’s more, over 70 percent of the components and products used in construction will be manufactured in the USA, boosting jobs and communities in states up and down the supply chain. Once completed, this plant will be the first large-scale solar plant in the U.S. to actually store the energy it generates for later use – even at night. And it will generate enough clean, renewable energy to power 70,000 homes.
The second company is Abound Solar Manufacturing, which will manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs. A Colorado plant is already underway, and an Indiana plant will be built in what’s now an empty Chrysler factory. When fully operational, these plants will produce millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year.
These are just two of the many clean energy investments in the Recovery Act. Already, I’ve seen the payoff from these investments. I’ve seen once-shuttered factories humming with new workers who are building solar panels and wind turbines; rolling up their sleeves to help America win the race for the clean energy economy.
So that’s some of what we’re doing. But the truth is, steps like these won’t replace all the jobs we’ve lost overnight. I know folks are struggling. I know this Fourth of July weekend finds many Americans wishing things were a bit easier right now. I do too.
But what this weekend reminds us, more than any other, is that we are a nation that has always risen to the challenges before it. We are a nation that, 234 years ago, declared our independence from one of the greatest empires the world had ever known. We are a nation that mustered a sense of common purpose to overcome Depression and fear itself. We are a nation that embraced a call to greatness and saved the world from tyranny. That is who we are – a nation that turns times of trial into times of triumph – and I know America will write our own destiny once more.
I wish every American a safe and happy Fourth of July. And to all our troops serving in harm’s way, I want you to know you have the support of a grateful nation and a proud Commander-in-Chief. Thank you, God Bless You, and God Bless the United States of America. ####
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