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Dining out on the taxpayers’ dime

POSTED: June 10, 2009 4:00 a.m.

Just a day before President Obama promised another $30 billion of taxpayer money to bail out General Motors, he and the First Lady jetted to New York City for a night out on the town.  They enjoyed a lavish dinner and choice seats to a Broadway show - all on the taxpayers’ dime.

  

As the auto industry crumbles and families are loosing jobs and struggling to put food on the table, the Obamas chose to take two helicopters and a small Air Force One jet to fly to New York City for a date night.

  

The White House refused to say how much the trip was costing taxpayers, but news reports estimated that the cost for the three aircrafts used to shuttle the Obamas and their entourage cost Americans around $42,000.

  

After campaigning for Main Street over Wall Street and pledging to help people protect their jobs and keep food on their table, such behavior is a fitting example of liberal elite hypocrisy.   Amid the worst economy in a generation, we face an administration that thinks it knows how to spend the people’s money better than they do.

  

He has asked Americans to make sacrifices and tighten their belts to ride out the economic downturn.  He chastised auto executives for arriving to Congressional hearings by private jet.  Apparently, those same principles do not apply to the president.  After spending billions of taxpayer dollars and running up our deficit into the trillions after just more than 100 days in office, our president darts off like a billionaire tycoon using the taxpayers’ jet as if he has an open check book, a never-ending allowance and a private plane. 

  

Once again, we need to teach left wing liberals about fiscal responsibility, and that does not include subsidizing extravagant outings on the taxpayers’ dime. 

  

Recently, even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress and the White House that the U.S. economy will suffer if they don’t move soon to rein in the federal budget deficit and stop the spending.  Our government needs to get back to smart, common sense approaches to fixing our economy.

  

This includes encouraging the growth of small businesses, fixing the banking and finance sector, and incentivizing the housing market.  While these solutions will take some level of investment, they do not call for throwing fistfuls of money at a problem and seeing what sticks. 

  

With the latest $30 billion bailout of General Motors, the federal government now owns at least 60 percent of the company.  If Americans are going to be charged with bailing out the car companies, then we should own shares in the company and not the government.  I would rather see taxpayers running “Government Motors” than the Sierra Club dictating what cars should be built.  Nor would we want to drive the kind of cars they would build.  

  

Rather than shoveling out billions of dollars to corporate automakers, the government needs to invest in hardworking Americans whose productivity is the key to our country’s economic prosperity.  It has been with American innovation, not government control, that our country has become a pinnacle of international power.  We cannot depend on government to solve our economic woes.  It was the hard work and sweat equity of every American that pulled this country out of the first Great Depression.  

  

As the government works its way into every corner of our lives, American innovation becomes increasingly suffocated.  Each new regulatory czar the president appoints chokes American businesses that much more.  Add to that a socialist environmental policy, costing more jobs and crumbling our living standards. 

  

Let’s reel in government bureaucracy and incentivize the private sector.

  

Reduce regulation to open the door for small businesses to create more jobs. 

  

Eliminate oppressive environmental rules and free up innovation.

  

As for me, a date night out with my wife would be great.  New York would be nice, but I think the Dawsonville Pool Room and a couple of Bully Burgers would be better.  I would like the helicopter ride though if you have one free, Mr. President.

  

Sen. Chip Pearson can be reached at (404) 656-9921 or via e-mail at chip.pearson@senate.ga.gov.

 

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