Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), as staunch a conservative as one will find in the upper chamber, has announced his support for the bailout bill. Coburn won’t vote until Wednesday, but apparently wanted to get ahead of the media curve and address concerns from conservatives about free-market policies. Here’s the statement he released earlier today, emphases mine:
“Taxpayers deserve to know that there is no guarantee this plan will work, but there is a guarantee that we will face a financial catastrophe if we do nothing. If banks continue to fail and stop lending the average American could lose their job, be unable to secure a loan for a car, home or college education, and find their life savings and retirement in jeopardy. Our economy depends on having liquid assets available for credit and lending just as an automobile engine needs oil. If those liquid assets stop flowing, our economy will be seriously damaged and will require far more costly and lengthy repairs.”
“This bill does not represent a new and sudden departure from free market principles as much as it represents an emergency response to congressional actions that have ignored free market principles, and our Constitution, for decades. If anyone in Washington should offer their resignation it should be the members of Congress who peddled the fantasy of free home ownership without risk. No institution in our country is more responsible for the myth or borrowing without consequences than the United States Congress.”
“As much as members of Congress want to find scapegoats, the root of this problem is political greed in Congress. Members of Congress from both parties wanted short-term political credit for promoting home ownership even though they were putting our entire economy at risk by encouraging people to buy homes they couldn’t afford. Then, instead of conducting thorough oversight and correcting obvious problems with unstable entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, members of Congress chose to ignore the problem and distract themselves with unprecedented amounts of pork-barrel spending.”
“Taxpayers who want to ensure that this doesn’t happen again should send a very clear message to Washington that it’s time for Congress to live within its means and restore the principles of limited government and free markets that made this country great. I will do everything in my power to ensure that this bill does not lead us down a slippery slope of European style socialism and slow economic growth. I will also promise taxpayers that I will do everything in my power to block what I expect will be hundreds of attempts by politicians in Washington to continue business-as-usual borrowing and spending in the next Congress. In a time of crisis, American families have to make hard choices between budget priorities. So should Congress. If politicians want to create new programs they should eliminate duplicative programs or reduce funding for less important programs. The only way we can put this crisis behind us is for Congress to rejoin the real world of budget choices and consequences which, as we have seen in recent days, can be ignored for only so long.”
Coburn is right, and let’s hope we can make the lessons of this collapse plain enough that even the media can’t ignore them.