Sen. Inhofe: Stimulus Bill a Giant Welfare Package
By: Jim Meyers
[Editor's Note: See the full Inhofe interview - Go Here Now]
Sen. Jim Inhofe tells Newsmax that the stimulus package put together by President Barack Obama and the Democrats is in fact "7 percent stimulus and 93 percent spending."
The Oklahoma Republican also asserted that the stimulus bill is a "form of welfare" - and said of Obama's plan to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that the detainees remaining there are "bad, bad people." [Editor's Note: See the full Inhofe interview - Go Here Now]
Newsmax's Ashley Martella asked if Sen. Inhofe sees anything positive in the stimulus bill.
"We know how to stimulate the economy," he responded. "We saw Kennedy do it in the ‘60s. He cut taxes, marginal rates, capital gains, inheritance taxes, and [by 1968] that increased our revenues by 62 percent. The same thing happened in the ‘80s when Reagan was there, so we know how to do that.
"However, the tax portion of this thing doesn't stimulate. It gives money to people who don't pay taxes. It is a form of welfare.
"There are two provisions in here that are fairly decent tax-wise. One is a loss carry back - I think it goes from two to five years - and the other is accelerated depreciation. But this only amounts to 3 1/2 percent of the total of $789 billion.
"The other thing you can do, of course, would be to have construction. We have $1.1 trillion worth of things that could be built, in terms of highways and bridges and things we're ultimately going to have to do. If we could accelerate that, that would start the jobs coming.
"Now that only amounted to 3 1/2 percent - $29 million in the whole package for road construction and highways. We add that together, that's 7 percent. So that's 7 percent stimulus and 93 percent spending."
Martella noted that Obama is calling himself a deficit cutter, and asked if that is valid in light of the huge stimulus spending plan.
"Here we have the largest spending bill in the history of the world," said Inhofe.
"He can call himself a deficit cutter. He is so persuasive that when he says something, so many people believe it. I think this is the art he is using right now. If he just says this and says it often enough, people will assume that is the case."
Although the stimulus package was written by Democrats, it would not have passed without the support of three Republicans in the Senate - Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. Martella asked if the three can be trusted to support GOP positions on other spending matters, such as tax increases.
"Those three you mentioned have always been very moderate to liberal, and they've left the fold many times before," Inhofe answered.
"I am hoping that they will stay hitched on things that are really meaningful when those things come up.
"For example, if you had a meaningful stimulus bill that had some tax reductions in it, in marginal rates or capital gains, I would hope that they would stay hitched. However, if they don't do it we can't get anything done."
Martella pointed out that a big issue for Inhofe is keeping Guantanamo Bay open, and asked if he sees Obama moving to give terrorists the civil rights that Americans enjoy.
"I sure do," Inhofe declared. "As a matter of fact, I just came back from there. I also went to Gitmo right after 9/11. I was there in January of '02. At that time there were accusations of torture taking place so I went down to see for myself. It was not taking place. It was not happening.
"Gitmo is a very valuable resource for the United States of America. We've had it since 1903. It's one of the best deals we have. We only spend $4,000 a year on a lease.
"Here is the problem that Americans are going to have to understand. Right now the population at Gitmo is down to 245 detainees. Of those 245, there are 170 whose country will not take them back. Of the 170, 110 are really hardcore, bad, bad people...
"So you've got to try them over there under a tribunal and do something with them. What are your choices? You could line them up and shoot them, I suppose, or you could turn them loose, or you could keep them there at Gitmo. The problem that we have, they've identified places in the United States to put these detainees after they close Gitmo ... Where are you going to put [them] if they don't go ahead and try them at a tribunal at Gitmo?
"And if you have to leave them there for a long period of time, leave them there for a long period of time. The alternatives are not very attractive."
Editor's Note: To See the full Inhofe interview - Go Here Now