Congressman visits radio station, talks about decisions in Washington that affect taxpayer dollars.
Congressman Buck McKeon stopped by the KHTS
studios Tuesday morning on a whirlwind tour of the 25th District. We
asked him about the issue at the top of everyone’s mind, the current financial
crisis gripping the country.
we’d been talking two months ago, it would be a totally different thing,”
McKeon said. He outlined a series of meetings held with fellow members of
Congress, Vice President Dick Cheney, Federal Reserve members and economic
advisors from the President’s office.
laid out a scenario because the week before, the financial structure of the
country had almost crashed,” he said. “It got to the point where banks wouldn’t
lend money overnight to other banks, T-Bills were down to zero for the first
time in history and we were on the verge of a complete breakdown.”
said the $700 billion “bailout” bill proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry
Paulson was presented for a vote of the House and Senate, but failed in its
first try. When the proposal was expanded and revised, it was approved first by
the Senate, then by the House.
passed the bill, we knew it wasn’t going to be a panacea and fix things
overnight. We’re going to have several months of some rough times,” he
explained. “We’ve been on a roller coaster for years and now it’s come tumbling
down. When (the bill) was first presented, it was like a bailout for Wall Street, but now
we’re so far past that.”
said he voted for the bill because of the volatility of the stock market and
the possibility that there was no bottom and a crash could be coming.
real problem was the financial market,
when banks stopped lending to each other and would not loan to business. Businesses
couldn’t meet payroll and they would have to lay off people. It wasn’t a matter
of my tax dollars bailing out people who weren’t good actors, it was a matter
of my tax dollars helping me.
said that the effects of the financial crunch will be felt across the board,
but he’s still optimistic.
met with local bankers, retailers and real estate people. I feel we’re still
going to have some tough times. The small bankers and those with an
entrepreneurial spirit are the ones who are going to pull us through this; probably
what they’ve done is averted a depression and a severe recession; but it’s
going to be several months of some pretty tough times versus several years of
very tough times.
am optimistic. We still live in the greatest country in the world,” he
continued. “People are angry and upset, they’re asking ‘why did we ever get in
this position.’ I could go down the whole chronology, there’s plenty of blame
to go around.”
important thing is now we’re here and there are things that will be done. The FBI
is investigating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and some of the other real bad
actors. It’s going to take some time and there are people who will be going to
jail, as they should.”
offered some reassurance from Washington.
think the important thing is for people not to panic, to realize that we’re in
tough times. People understand that, they’re a lot smarter than the politician back
by the Potomac give them credit for,” he said. “The plan
will put liquidity back in the market. We run on credit and confidence and
about three weeks ago, we lost both. I think confidence is coming back, and credit
will be put into the marketplace if everybody keeps working, we’re going to be