Lousiana Congressman Talks About Economy
Kid Reporter Abigayle Lista with her congressman, Rep. Steve Scalise. (Photo courtesy Abigayle Lista)
Kid Reporter Abigayle Lista recently sat down with Republican Congressman Steve Scalise of the First District of Louisiana. Representative Scalise was elected only six months ago, but he's already in the middle of a campaign for reelection. He took time out of his day to discuss the economic problems that our nation is facing.
Scholastic New Online: You voted no for both financial stimulus packages brought before the House of Representatives. Why?
Rep. Steve Scalise: I had concerns about the approach that was taken to address this problem. While I do think there is a serious problem in the financial markets. The solution that was proposed I think was the wrong approach to address the problem. I don't think there was enough discussion about what the alternatives were. The reason I voted against the bill was because I thought there was a much better way to handle the problem in ways that wouldn't put the taxpayers' money at risk to bail out people who made irresponsible decisions on Wall Street.
SNO: What should the federal government do to help with this financial crisis?
Rep. Scalise: First, you stop the bad things from happening and that have been happening. You reform the problems that created the mess. You also go in, because there is a lack of liquidity in the market. That is the biggest problem. It is not because there is a lack of money. There are a lot of people that have money that are sitting on the sidelines because they are afraid to put money in the stock market. Banks are afraid to lend to other banks right now. The first thing to do is restore that confidence. Do you do it with taxpayer money or do you do it with changes in the market place? I would prefer to do it with the market place approach rather than with taxpayer money.
SNO: How is the economic crisis affecting our district in Louisiana?
Rep. Scalise: It is going to make it harder for people to get loans if they don't have a proven record of being able to repay loans. I think there will be some downsides. It will be harder for small businesses to get that initial loan. This will hurt our ability to create new jobs over the next few years. There are a lot of changes that will need to be made. There will be a lot of reforms made to these financial institutions that caused this mess. The people that played by the rules should not be punished.
Learn more about the economy and how it works in this special report.
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Abigayle Lista is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.