South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Texas Governor Rick Perry have a commentary in the Wall Street Journal this morning pleading with the federal government to cease using taxpayer money to bailout the economy. Sanford has been an outspoken critic of the bailout for sometime now (as Len Gilroy noted on OCO last month). Perry also has demonstrated a keen understanding for how letting the private sector help economic conditions in the Lone Star State is the best path back to prosperity (as featured in the recently published Innovators In Action 2009 report. Here are some excerpts from their column:
As governors and citizens, we’ve grown increasingly concerned over the past weeks as Washington has thrown bailout after bailout at the national economy with little to show for it. In the process, the federal government is not only burying future generations under mountains of debt. It is also taking our country in a very dangerous direction — toward a “bailout mentality” where we look to government rather than ourselves for solutions. We’re asking other governors from both sides of the political aisle to join with us in opposing further federal bailout intervention for three reasons. First, we’re crossing the Rubicon with regard to debt. One fact that’s been continually glossed over in the bailout debate is that Washington doesn’t have money in hand for any of these proposals. Every penny would be borrowed. Estimates for what the government is willing to spend on bailouts and stimulus efforts for this year reach as much as $7.7 trillion according to Bloomberg.com–a full half of the United States’ yearly economic output… Borrowing money to “solve” a problem created by too much debt seems odd. And as fiscally conservative Republicans, we take no pleasure in pointing out that many in our own party have been just as complicit in running up the tab as those on the political left… Second, the bailout mentality threatens Americans’ sense of personal responsibility. In a free-market system, competition and one’s own personal stake motivate people to do their best. In this process, the winners create wealth, jobs and new investment, while others go back to the drawing board better prepared to try again… Third, we’d ask the federal government to stop believing it has all the answers… In the rush to do “something” to help, federal leaders would be wise to take a line from the Hippocratic Oath, and pledge to do no (more) harm to our country’s finances. We can weather this storm if we commit to fiscal prudence and hold true to the values of individual freedom and responsibility that made our nation great.
Read the full column at WSJ.com here.