Promoted from the diaries
Decades ago, when British Prime Minister Harold Macmillen was asked by a journalist what would decide an upcoming election, he replied: “Events, my dear boy, events.” As we take stock of where we are – and what’s likely to happen between now and the first Tuesday of November – it’s clear that one of the greatest “events” facing us today – which also has the potential to escalate much further – is the European debt crisis.
The mainstream media has given a lot of coverage to the debt crisis and the bailout bonanza it’s unleashed – first the Greek bailout, then the Irish and Portuguese bailouts, then Greece again. But the MSM conveniently forgets to mention two important things: the role of the International Monetary Fund in funding these bailouts (one-third of the cost, actually), and the fact that America is the largest contributor to the IMF.
This month, the European Union unveiled its umpteenth bailout of Greece, bringing the total cost of that bailout alone to $500 billion (or more than the entire Greek economy). That doesn’t include the cost of the Ireland and Portugal bailouts (combined total: $259 billion), and the growing likelihood that Spain and Italy will need bailouts too. While the MSM looks the other way, a critical mass of bloggers and activists are starting to ask the question, “At a time when America is borrowing over $1 trillion every single year, why are we borrowing more money – much of it from China – to bail out Europe?”
Even the White House understands the political potency of this issue. At last week’s White House press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked whether the Administration would come to Congress to request more funding for the IMF. Earnest said “further contributions” to the IMF are “off the table.” But that’s misleading. Every month, the IMF is using “further contributions” from you – the taxpayer – through America’s $68 billion IMF quota plus a separate $100 billion line of credit called the “New Arrangements to Borrow” (NAB) – for the European bailouts. Those bailouts could be stopped by the Administration, but they refuse to take action. Why? Because they support the bailouts (albeit quietly). And the media won’t call them out on it. And so, it’s time for Congress to take action to protect your tax money.
I have introduced legislation, HR 2313, that would repeal the Administration’s $100 billion line of credit to the IMF. As of today, only $7 billion of that $100 billion has been committed, so we have up to $93 billion to protect and designate for deficit reduction. Every day, that money is in jeopardy of being committed by the IMF, so we don’t have time to waste. And should Spain or Italy need a bailout, there is no question that most of the $100 billion will disappear, and quickly.
My bill has 91 cosponsors. Sen. Jim DeMint has introduced a similar bill in the Senate – S. 1276 – which has 25 cosponsors, more than half the Republican Conference. At the very least, we should have a public debate about whether or not America should be involved in these European bailouts. And the Administration should be honest about its support for them. If the mainstream media won’t hold the Administration accountable, Congress and the blogosphere must do it for them. I, for one, will continue to oppose American involvement in a European TARP. We cannot afford to take the “too big to fail” philosophy to a global level. The only thing “too big to fail” is America itself.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) is Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference. A compilation of her work against the IMF bailouts can be found here.