Barr says financial crunch teaches folly of government bailouts

The following is a media release from the Barr presidential campaign:
Interview Contact: Steve Sinton
Phone: 404-536-8038

Barr Says Financial Crunch Teaches Folly of Government Bailouts

Atlanta, GA - “Financial reality has hit Wall Street despite past federal bailouts,” notes Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president.

Barr says that massive subsidies for the housing industry and Bear Stearns, as well as a government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, could not insulate financial institutions from the tsunami of bad mortgage loans.

“While the Bush administration has thus far refused to again put the taxpayers at risk by bailing out Lehman Brothers, we should not hold our breath that this or further bail outs will not be approved,” Barr observes. “What is required is a long-term solution that incorporates a series of important steps to wean the country from depending on Uncle Sam, which has already put the U.S. taxpayer at risk for irresponsible decisions by private or quasi-government entities.”

“First, government must say firmly and unequivocally ‘NO’ to more bailouts of the very people and firms that have shaken the financial system,” explains Barr. “Government cannot wish away mountains of bad debt. It can only shift the burden of failure and delay the adjustment process. Eventually untold billions in bad loans will come due. It is not the responsibility of innocent taxpayers to settle the bill,” adds Barr.

Barr notes that the adjustment process will be painful, but it will be smoother if government makes it clear that banks and investment houses should not wait around with their hands out for taxpayer aid.

“It is impossible for politicians and bureaucrats to decide if the answer in any particular case is bankruptcy, merger, or buy-out,” says Barr. “The main task of Washington is to stay out of the way as the market works through necessary economic changes.”

Barr says Washington must get its own financial house in order, noting the deficit this year is expected to hit a record $407 billion.

“Next year the deficit is almost certain to exceed half a trillion dollars. These deficits come on top of an already staggeringly high, $9.5 trillion national debt,” says Barr. “We must eliminate all nonessential programs, as well as those with no constitutional authority or which are properly left to the states. The good times when Congress could spend as if there were no limits are long gone.”

“America’s biggest problem is an entitlement explosion resulting from an aging population and rising health care costs,” Barr notes. “Social Security and Medicare have unfunded liabilities in excess of $100 trillion. That is more than seven times our annual GDP. Finding answers will become more painful, both economically and politically, the longer we wait to act. Addressing entitlements should be a top priority of the next administration.”

“The shake-ups on Wall Street have just begun,” warns Barr. “But government should stay out of the process. The principal cause of today’s financial chaos is past government subsidies, bailouts, and poor policy choices. The first step in making the financial system sound is to insist on government making its own finances sound,” says Barr.

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003.

6 Responses to “Barr says financial crunch teaches folly of government bailouts”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    When I read about the love of wasteful spending in D.C. I’m usually reminded of the classic Davy Crockett “not yours to give” story about a citizen’s opposition to Crockett’s vote to appropriate money to the victims of a fire.

    For those of you that haven’t heard of this, here it is in Crockett’s own words:

    “Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown . It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

    “The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly.

    “I began: ‘Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and—’

    “’Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett, I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.’

    “This was a sockdolager . . . I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

    “’Well, Colonel, it is hardly worth-while to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. . . . But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.’

    “’I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.’

    “’No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown . Is that true?’

    “’Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.’

    “’It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be intrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown , neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington , no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.

    “’So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.’

    “I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

    “’Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.’

    “He laughingly replied: ‘Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.’

  2. Jonathan Says:

    Go Barr Go, please donate today, only 50 days left

  3. disinter Says:

    Many of you may not know this, but Bob Barr lost his congressional seat due to an organized LP effort to defeat himself and other “drug warriors” in office. Since that time, Barr has allegedly reformed and sought the nomination of the very Party which managed to unseat him. Barr’s current communications director, Shane Corey was driven out of the Libertarian Party leadership for advocating larger government intrusions into our lives and a perpetuation of the war against terrorism. He also was accused of orchestrating a smear-campaign against Mary Ruwart, a candidate competing against Barr for the LP nomination. Smear campaigns are a normal routine in politics lately. However, the fact that this particular smear originated from the LP leadership, calls into question the objectivity of the Party’s power-elite. That Corey eventually ended up working for Barr’s campaign is just more fodder for speculation. It can’t be easily explained.

    Barr, a former CIA agent, voted for the PATRIOT act while in Congress and prosecuted hundreds of citizens who ran afoul of the nation’s drug laws while he was a federal prosecutor. His track record as a leader for the cause of liberty is barren. And to top off a dubious set of career accomplishments, the tactics he has used to gain the LP nomination are suspect.

  4. disinter Says:

    Whether or not Barr and his clan’s efforts are intentional, they are destroying the Libertarian Party’s ability to even remotely advance the cause of liberty. Russ Verney and Bob Barr would have you believe that this is the result of “true leadership.”

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I donated to the 2002 campaign to oust then-Congressman Barr.

    But I also believe the damage being caused by the missteps of Barr & Co. pales in comparison to the damage being caused by those that distrust Barr. Come December Barr will be a political afterthought, but the dissent that arose to thwart the threats of Barr’s candidacy—real or imagined—will live on. Its after-effects will continue to tarnish the Libertarian Party, portraying it as an unorganized band of warring factions that will never accomplish anything, long after Bob Barr has become a non-issue.

  6. Bill Wood Says:

    Disenter fails to mention the main reason Barr lost his Congressional seat.

    Georgia’s congressional districts were reorganized by the Democratic-controlled Georgia legislature ahead of the 2002 elections for the 108th Congress. As part of the legislature’s effort to get more Democrats elected from the state, Barr’s district was dismantled even though Georgia gained two districts. He was drawn into the same district as fellow Republican John Linder. The new district was numerically Barr’s district—the 7th—but contained most of the territory from Linder’s old 11th District. This move profited Democrats by leading to the inevitable defeat of an incumbent Republican (i.e., either Barr or Linder).

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