By Maria Saporta
U.S. Sen. SaxbyChambliss (R-Georgia) gave Atlanta Rotarians today the minority party’s perspective of the changes being proposed by the Obama administration.
In short, Chambliss’ message was that the administration was shifting the nation to having a government-owned and managed automobile industry, the insurance and banking sectors and health care.
And the administration’s policies will mean higher taxes for the richest Americans and record deficits that are unsustainable.
“We are in some very unusual times in Washington right now,” Chambliss told the Rotarians. “A lot of money is being spent, and there’s an effort by the folks in Washington to make you feel good about the money that is being spent.”
Chambliss did acknowledge that during the Bush administration, it was criticized for “spending an awful lot of money” when Republicans were in charge. “And we did,” Chambliss said, but then he quickly added that those deficits will pale in comparison to those that the nation will see in the coming years.
Chambliss said that he and fellow U.S. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) did not support the $787 billion stimulus package that passed in February, and he said it was still too early to tell what impact it will have on the economy because only 10 percent has been spent.
But it may end up that the stimulus package will merely slow down the fall rather than inject new life in the economy. If it had been up to Chambliss and Isakson, the senator said they would have spent more emphasis fixing up the housing industry.
Chambliss was particularly critical of the cap-and-trade legislation that had come out of the U.S. House.
“It may be the worst piece of legislation that I’ve seen come out of the House in my 15 years in elected office,” Chambliss said. “It will be a tax on every consumer that uses electricity.”
Chambliss pushed the real panic button when talking about the future tax rates that businesses and wealthy Americans might have to pay if the healthcare plans are implemented and if the tax cuts go through. He said that if some of these policies are pushed through, the top tax rate could go up as high as 45 percent from the current 35 percent.
“I don’t think this is the kind of change we wanted,” Chambliss said. “We want reform, and we want change but we want it in the right way.”
For the record, after the meeting, a longtime strategic player in the Democratic party who is a Rotarian, said privately that Chambliss took several liberties in his talk and misrepresented the Obama administration’s policies.