Mar 09 2010

Shelby: Debt is biggest problem

By Lindsay Slater

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby stopped by Fort Payne City Hall Saturday to talk to residents about the problems facing the nation.

Shelby said the number one problem is the national debt.

“I believe this is a great country, if we don’t throw it away,” Shelby said. “This is the richest country in the world. We don’t feel rich today, none of us do, but it is. And, we have done so many things for our people and probably for the world, too. But, if we don’t get our economic house in order and quit borrowing money and borrowing money and borrowing money, we’re going to go bankrupt. I thought I would never say that, but it’s true.”

Shelby said the U.S. would become second-rate.

“This country is at risk, folks,” Shelby said. “This is the most liberal regime we’ve ever had in Washington. The Democrats are in control of the Senate and the House. This administration is going to borrow $6 trillion more if we don’t watch it, in the next three years. I hope we can slow that down. We owe more money now than any nation in the world. We used to be a creditor nation. We used to loan money. But, we as a nation have been living on credit.”

Shelby said getting the economy going is essential to seeing banks succeed.

“Banks are essential to our economy,” Shelby said. “Banks – smaller, medium-size banks – generally loan money to individuals and small businesses, and that’s where jobs are created. The government can only create a few jobs. Then, they borrow money and the money is gone and then, the jobs are gone. Then, the tax is on you and your grandchildren.”

Shelby talked about health care, a controversial topic of discussion since President Barrack Obama was sworn into office.

“It’s still on the burner,” Shelby said. “I believe we have the best health care system in the world. It’s not perfect. It costs too much, but if you don’t think it’s good, why do people come from all over the world [for medical care.]”

Shelby said he hopes the bill doesn’t pass.

“The Democrats and the Obama administration, despite the American people and the overwhelming majority being against their plan, are determined to run that plan through the Senate and the House,” Shelby said. “I hope they won’t be able to do it, but they could. If they do, I believe it will cost them the elections this fall.”

Shelby said it’s time for American citizens to remember they are the government.

“Some people want the government to take care of them from the cradle to the grave,” Shelby said. “But, the government is you, folks. We the people, remember the Constitution. Before you have any articles in the Constitution, [there is] we the people.”

Shelby said people who want to become more engaged as citizens, need to head to the ballot box in November.

“You’ve got to go to the ballot box,” Shelby said. “Votes and elections have consequences. The pendulum swings, and then it swings back. It always has throughout history. You have to elect accountable people.”

As for Alabama and where the state stands, Shelby said he recently voted to extend unemployment benefits for those using the service.

Shelby also said he would support a job creation bill, if it gave tax breaks to individuals and small businesses.