Kyle Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon to address specific issues concerning businesses and residents in Hays County. United States Representative Lloyd Doggett was the key speaker at the event and provided an inside look into national politics and discussions. Doggett’s speech focused on the financial crisis in America, but he also took questions from the audience.Kyle Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ray Hernandez said the objective of the luncheon was to provide an overview of the state of the nation. “Earlier this year we had a couple of our Hays County Commissioners gives us a ‘State of the County’ address, earlier in the year we had our Mayor and City Manager here in Kyle come out and gives us a ‘State of the City’ address, so we thought it was only fair that we have our current Congressman to come out and give us a ‘State of the Nation’ address,” said Hernandez. He said in doing so area residents are provided with essential information in all levels of government.
“If there was a major problem our country had eight years ago, it’s worst today,” said Congressman Doggett. “If we had a success then, such as a balanced budget, actually a surplus, it’s now a problem. But I’m very hopeful about where we are headed and I think change is on the way to address these challenges.”
Doggett said the economy is in the forefront of most American’s concerns, but he said Hays County has fortunately not been too affected by the financial challenges. The national government took steps toward “bailing out Wall Street” in hopes of alleviating the financial crisis; Doggett voted in opposition of both HR3997, the First Economic Package, and HR1424, the Second Economic Package that passed earlier this month. He said there was a clear need for prompt action, but it needed to be responsible action.
“There was wrong doing here,” said Doggett. “There was wrong doing in the public sector and the private sector [regarding the economic crisis] and there needs to be a thorough investigation.”
Doggett illustrated the chaos in Washington prompted by the financial crisis. “One Thursday night Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke came over to the Capitol for what was a regularly scheduled meeting and essentially said ‘gives us about $500 billion by early next week or we’ll be in a depression,'” said Doggett. He said these remarks panicked members of Congress and three days later the request increased to $700 billion. Doggett said he began to question several terms behind the bailout: why should only taxpayers carry the burden, will there be self-dealings, and most importantly, was it a feasible solution. He said his concerns were not adequately addressed and felt a more responsible solution needed to be presented.
Doggett said the first time the bill came to the House it was voted down. He said the second bailout bill was essentially the same as the first, but had an extra $105 billion worth of unrelated provisions added into the bill by the Senate. “That’s why I voted against them,” said Doggett.
Doggett said since the passing of the bailout bill the plan being implemented is far different than the one presented to the House. He said there are concerning whispers that the $700 billion initially asked for in Congress is just the first installment and more money will demanded. Doggett said economists warn the bailout bill will not stimulate the economy, it will only keep it from getting worse; he said economists suggest a stimulus package is necessary to bounce back from the recession. Doggett said he is opposed to the bailout bill, but is determined to get America out of the recession.
The General Election and Hays County Voters
Doggett said there has been a tremendous outpouring of voters during early voting, but he urged for 100 percent turnout in Hays County. “I think this county recognizes that we have a few problems in this country of significance that are worst today than when George Bush was sworn into office,” said Doggett. “And what we had in success then, like a budget surplus, a budget imbalance, we have a problem today with trillions of dollars of owed debt to foreigners having been incurred. We desperately need change, and I hope everyone will come out to vote for change this year.”
Doggett said there is a presidential candidate that can move America forward from its current state. “I’m fully committed to Barack Obama,” said Doggett. “I think he is the change I can believe in.”
by Andy Sevilla
News Section Editor