Paying it forward | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Paying it forward

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 8:41 AM

Paul Barton, who looks after Washington for the Arkansas Blog, asked U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder this week how he feels about voting for stimulus legislation and the debt it unavoidably adds on future generations, such as his new triplets (below).

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By  Paul Barton

WASHINGTON – Within the space of  two months, Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder, 61, has celebrated the birth of  triplets and then turned around to vote on issues in Congress  that could dramatically affect their future – either giving them a recovering and robust American economy to inherit, or if President Obama’s plans don’t work as designed, saddling them with astronomical increases in the national debt.

Snyder, whose wife, the Rev. Betsy Singleton of Little Rock, gave birth in December to three boys, Aubrey, Wyatt and Sullivan, told the Arkansas Times he’s confident he made the right choice in supporting the $797 billion economic stimulus bill that Congress approved last week. Snyder, in an interview Wednesday, avoided calling it a  “stimulus” package, preferring instead to label it “an economic growth bill” that will “benefit Americans long after I’m gone.”

But with passage of the bill, estimates of annual budget deficits have shifted from the hundreds of billions to the trillions. And there is likelihood of more big spending packages to come, including one for the embattled American auto industry and one to stave off foreclosures for some financially strapped homeowners. Those two issues alone could add $100 billion or more. And that doesn’t count additional money to straighten out banks and the credit crisis.

Snyder said this is simply one of those crucial moments in the nation’s history – like World War II – when additional debt must be incurred to meet a national emergency. If the money is invested wisely, he said, the country will get a return on it down the line.

He added that the tax cut packages former President Bush passed in 2001 and 2003 greatly contributed to the budget and economic hurdles the country now faces. And Snyder is quick to remind that he opposed both. Snyder was also the lone member of the Arkansas delegation to oppose giving Bush authorization in 2002 to go to war against Iraq.

Conservatives, however, contend the Bush tax cuts helped stimulate significant economic growth until 2007, when the outlines of the subprime mortgage crisis first surfaced

“Anytime you borrow money you have responsibilities to future generations,” Snyder said. “I also don’t want the next generation to get stuck with a chronically ill American economy."

Incidentally, Snyder said there are three other members of the House who are also parents to triplets. “I didn’t have children until I was 58 years old and I always want an America of expanding opportunity,” the 2nd Congressional District representative said.

Although his own kids “are very photogenic little children,” he said many members without kids are just as concerned about the nation’s future.

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