Jason Mumpower today gave us all reason to be thankful he's not speaker of the House. At the monthly meeting of the GOP's First Tuesday club, Mumpower suggested that, like Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is talking about doing, Tennessee ought to turn down the billions of dollars in federal bailout money that's headed our way. Here's Mumpower:
I've got a TV in my office and I'm been watching a little bit of what's going on in Washington. They've got a little bit of a bailout mentality up there. I certainly have an uneasiness about it because I think we know that you either pay today or you pay tomorrow. There's not a free ride. There's no such thing as a free lunch. So I want to be sure that if a bailout does come down to the state of Tennessee and every other state in the union that we manage ourselves in this state accordingly so that we don't take advantage of something this year that makes our problem much worse next year and the year after that.
An audience member asked, "What discussion has there been in the GOP caucus about refusing the bailout? Sending it back?" To which Mumpower replied:
Um, we have not been together as a caucus in a couple of weeks because we've been in a recess. But I can tell you that a lot of my friends in the caucus share your feelings. The bailout at best is a temporary solution and it can cause bigger problems. You know, if we get this money and if we just keep spending at the rate we've been spending because we have some bailout funds, then we've just dug the hole twice as deep for next year and maybe three times as deep for the year after that. So whether we get bailout funds or whether we don't, that doesn't mean we can spend money like drunken sailors, no offense to drunken sailors. We have to be responsible, and we have to make some real reductions.
We've got an idea. Mumpower should put it up for a vote if he feels so strongly about it. Show us how things have changed with the new Republican majority.