I have a question for you, Sen. John McCain, that could be asked of every senator from every one of our nation's 50 states, but I live in Arizona. My present problem is the difficulty I am experiencing attempting to understand the complete lack of knowledge of our nation's financial condition and system by all senators, congressmen, elected or appointed officials, beginning soon after World War II.
But let's begin during Dwight Eisenhower's term as president, which began in 1953 and ended in 1961. During this period, Eisenhower initiated the greatest highway building program in our nation's history. The primary reason was because of rising national unemployment figures. That was the beginning of major federal postwar spending programs.
As an example noted in your memoir, "Worth Fighting For" at the time published, 2002, you described the power of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and I quote from page 358: "But so great is the power of the appropriations that most members of Congress would rather collude in a system we all know is unfair and that wastes tens of billions of dollars every year than risk exposing their states to the wrath of angry appropriators." To be fair, the context of this statement as made when you were fighting a battle opposing "earmarks."
Senator, the point I wish to make amounts to this: Granted every bit of business crossing your desk is important and certainly deserves all the attention given, but in the final analysis, the ultimate consideration must be based upon the money available at the time budget requirements are requested. Not in actual cash, but in projected, believable future federal incomes to retire financial obligations, such as purchasers of Treasury bills, which are for all practical purposes promises to repay money borrowed.
I was alive when President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated "deficit spending" as a method of emerging from the throes of the nation's Great Depression. I was not at an age where the sum total was understood, but I do remember hearing many heated discussions pertaining to the validity of this method, and our present financial condition explains why.
Senator, my question is, explain how it is that with all the existing "committees" briefly outlined, the citizens' faith in America has been destroyed by our elected political representatives for not informing them of facts of paramount importance concerning the economic conditions prevailing long before our nation teeters on the brink of financial collapse.
Through the past 40 years, enlightened individuals have written of dire consequences if America did not put its financial house in order. Where were you and all the people we trusted with confidence?
Fifty years ago, America was recognized by the world as the freedom form of government to emulate - freedom also meaning economic security.