Colorado Congressman Talks About the Economic Crisis
Representative Doug Lamborn
Doug Lamborn, a Republican, represents Colorado's Fifth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has served in the House since 2006. Rep. Lamborn voted against the $700 bailout bill twice. Kid Reporter Ashlyn Stewart lives in Rep. Lamborn's district, and she discussed with him the current economic crisis and the bailout package.
Scholastic News Online: You voted no on the bailout bill both times. What were your concerns about the bailout bill?
Rep. Doug Lamborn: I have three concerns. One has to do with the huge amount of debt added to our national debt. Number two, I'm not convinced that the government should be interfering so dramatically in the free markets. And number three, many of us felt that it wasn't the best plan to get the job done.
SNO: Now that the bailout bill passed, do you still have concerns about it?
Rep. Lamborn: I still have concerns, but I'll do everything I can to make sure that we get through this crisis. And I will try to make sure the plan gets carried out in the best way possible in the future.
SNO: Why did the government ask for $700 billion, and was it the right amount of government funding?
Rep. Lamborn: I think $700 billion was too much money. But they wanted a large amount of money to give the market the confidence that the job would get done.
SNO: What affect do you think the bailout bill will have on middle-income families?
Rep. Lamborn: We all hope it will help middle income families by curing the credit crunch.
SNO: How is the economic crisis affecting our district?
Rep. Lamborn: Well, there are two crisises. There'd be the previous crisis that had not yet been resolved and the sub-prime housing problems and the resulting fall in housing prices. One effect of the first problem is that housing prices have gone down and its harder for people to sell their house and pay off their mortgages. There's not as much equity as there used to be. Some people aren't moving when they would like to be selling their house. And businesses that rely on a strong housing market are suffering like real estate and construction. Problems also resulted from the credit crunch, and those are that people with legitimate needs for loans may not be able to get those loans; both consumers and businesses.
SNO: As a student, I'm concerned about being able to afford college in five years. How will the economic crisis impact education, and what is the government doing about the rising costs of education?
Rep. Lamborn: If we are still having a slow economy when people who are students now are ready to go to college it will be harder to earn the money to go to college whether it's the student paying or their parents. Because when there's a slow economy, jobs are harder to come by and the jobs that are available may not pay as well as what someone would like.
It is difficult to control the cost of higher education because [schools] can act very independently and it's not really the government's role to tell them what to do. This is where the free market comes in. If they're charging too much and not enough people can afford to attend, they will run into problems. And they'll have to adjust their tuition prices to a lower level to get more students to attend. So the working of the free market should help a lot. On top of that, there are some bank and federal loan programs to make college loans more affordable. And students should consider those options. Students can also consider ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) program that the military has and other programs that help pay for tuition in return for a future commitment. And its always wise for students to plan ahead and start saving money.
SNO: Do you have anything to add?
Rep. Lamborn: Let me make kind of a general statement. It is so important to get a good college education! Even if you have to work your way through, like I did, it is well worth it.
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Ashlyn Stewart is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.