Discussing the “US Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy” with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Senator Corker was not only direct and frank in his remarks, but absolutely spot-on in detailing for the Chairman, the Budget Committee, and the American People the real problems facing the US Economy as it relates to potential threats to our credit rating – a broken system of gamesmanship in Washington, out-of-control spending, and a Legislative Body that sees every budding political debate as the next opportunity to increase power for respective caucuses.
As a proud Tennessean who’s at times been frustrated with the behind-the-scenes “pragmatic” approach of our Senate delegation, I can say without equivocation that Senator Corker earned his term’s paycheck in one committee hearing. Frankly, I’m shocked that it’s not receiving more coverage – aside that is, from the “Corker calls Bernanke a prop” references which were clearly taken out of context. Senator Corker’s demonstrated frustration should be front page news across the country. This debate is about far more than the nation’s debt ceiling. It’s about a system that allowed us to arrive at this discussion.
Well done Sentor Corker. Well done.
It’s well past time for someone up there to be willing to admit this sad reality…
Jump ahead to 1:24:40 for Corker’s remarks…
Senator Corker: “The fact is that all this talk about the debt ceiling is farcical at this moment. I think we all know that our leadership has concocted a scheme where… folks on the other side of the aisle can allow the debt ceiling to increase and continue to appeal to their constituencies for the 2012 election; and on our side we can continue to cause spending to be an issue for us in the election and basically by virtue of concocting this scheme; we’re not going to make any tough decisions. We all know that. Maybe the debt ceiling was the wrong place for us to be making that argument.
But let me move to the other side of this. It’s evident that the debt ceiling is going to be increased. It’s probable that not much is going to occur as it relates to spending. And I would say that the flip-side to this is people have to be waking up at some point when we go through this little short term hurdle; and say on the other hand if the US government doesn’t do something as it relates to spending, then the credit agencies -matter of fact some of them already referred to that and not this debt ceiling as being a major problem. Would you agree?
Chairman Bernanke: Yes, senator. I want to be clear. Whenever I’ve talked about this I’ve had a two-handed economist approach which is the debt ceiling needs to be addressed, but we do also need to address the stability and sustainability of our fiscal position.
Corker: You know since you’re a prop and you’re answering the way we all want you to answer. I guess the debt ceiling is not the best place to actually deal with this issue. What is the best place for Congress to actually deal with issues of spending?
Chairman Bernanke: Well to the legislative and consultative process that the Founders…uh.
Senator Corker: Is it called a budget?
Chairman Bernanke: Well except for one thing.
Senator Corker: The answer’s supposed to be yes, if you’re being an appropriate prop.
Chairman Bernanke: Sorry. My only point was just to state. The answer’s yes but we need to think about this in the current year and also future years.
Senator Corker: I don’t know what the most common joke is around the Fed about most of us around here – I’d love to hear it – maybe sometime you won’t do it with the microphone here today. We basically have been sort of feckless members. The United States Senate has basically caused this nation to be in decline because we are not willing to deal with the tough issues we need to deal with . So, some people resorted to the debt ceiling and that’s obviously we figured out a political solution that works well for both sides to be able to campaign for 2012.
The fact is that we are all sort of two-bit pawns in all of this by allowing our country to continue to spend money. What’s happened is our leadership has wanted to protect us; so we have to make tough decisions when we budget and prioritize. And so, in order to protect majorities, we don’t go through that process.