Shelby meets with county residents

Published 7:17 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sen. Richard Shelby cast a thoughtful eye towards the future on Monday in Greenville.

The longtime Alabama Senator didn’t like what he saw.

“Folks, we’re headed down the path of financial and economic destruction,” Shelby, who was making his annual stop in Butler County, told listeners at The Chef’s Table. “I don’t believe you can borrow your way into prosperity.”

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Shelby’s comments stem from the recent passage of the federal government’s massive $787 billion economic stimulus plan. Shelby, along with Sen. Jeff Sessions and all but one member of the Alabama delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives, voted against the stimulus package.

Shelby said taxpayers should be concerned as to how this latest round of government spending is going to effect the national debt, which is now over $10 trillion and growing. Averaging that debt among the population of the United States means every man, woman, and child has a $35,000 share.

“It took us 200 years from the founding of our country until 1982 to break our first $1 trillion in debt,” said Shelby. “We’re reaching the point of no return…where we’re debasing our currency. This is a situation that effects every man, woman and child.”

Shelby said recessions – like the one currently happening in the United States – are going to happen.

“We still have 155 million people gainfully employed in this country,” he said. “Yes, the economy has tightened up. The sun doesn’t shine all of the time.”

Shelby admitted he was not “enamored” with the last year of the Bush administration. He said the bailout of the nation’s banks and automotive industry was done without much oversight.

“Now we have a new administration in office with President Obama and I believe you need to hold on to your pocketbooks,” he said.

Alabama, as a state, should benefit from the stimulus plan. The state is expected to receive billions of dollars in federal aid to help offset recent and future budget deficits in government and education.

Regardless of the aid, Shelby remains in opposition to the plan.

“It should be up to the Legislature to balance the budget,” said Shelby. “Not the Congress of the United States.”