September 24, 2008
"First off, America faces unprecedented financial challenges," Senator Inhofe said. "I am greatly concerned about the significant problems in our financial and banking sectors, and what those problems might mean for our economy in the coming years. However, following my meetings with Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, reviewing the Administration's proposal, speaking to constituents in Oklahoma, and reviewing the proposals from members of Congress, I am currently convinced that this hastily-crafted $700 billion bailout lacks the details necessary to provide me with confidence that this plan will do anything more than the bailouts Congress has already enacted. Historically, massive federal interventions do not have a successful track record, and I'm skeptical that this will do more good than harm.
"As our economy began to experience trouble some months ago, Washington's first reaction was bailouts. We've had a $300 billion mortgage bailout and the $200 billion Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout, to name just two. I opposed these measures. As was the case then, I am not convinced that the solution to our problems is to place the burden on taxpayers by imposing massive debt on them.
"Beyond concerns about how this approach impacts taxpayers, with each passing day more and more questions are being raised about how Secretary Paulson's plan will actually work. Questions are being raised, as yet unanswered, about the mechanics of the program and who would be making these enormous decisions with taxpayer largesse. I simply cannot support providing a blank check to the Secretary of the Treasury. The massive proposed bailout is being rushed through Congress and there is no question this plan would punish the American taxpayer by forcing them to pay the price for the poor decisions made by large investment firms. Supporters of this program admit as much. As a fiscal conservative, it is my belief that this approach is not the answer to our problems.
"Rather than rushing a proposal out the door so Members can leave town by the end of the week, Congress should focus on protecting taxpayers and seeking viable alternatives to the financial crises."