I’ve been upset with the shortage of information about Republicans serving in DC. the easy (lazy?) thing to do is say that ‘there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats’. Benedict Arlen, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe don’t exactly discourage that image.

That’s unfair to the rock solid conservatives in the US House of Representatives. One such representative that doesn’t deserve lumping in with Specter, Collins and Snowe. Recently, Rep. Franks answered a number of questions I had. Here’s the transcript of our exchange:

Q1: President Obama just submitted a budget that will spend over $3.5 trillion. What part of President Obama’s budget bothers you most?

Rep. Franks: The most potentially devastating aspect of the budget is the number of significant tax increases, totally more than $1.4 trillion over 10 years. Allegedly, these tax increases target “wealthy Americans,” a subjective term Democrats have used for those making more than $250,000 a year. Unfortunately, more than half of the people who make that amount run small businesses. By significantly raising taxes on small businesses, which create 60 to 80 percent of American jobs, we are choking the very engine of our economy that creates jobs and provides consistent, long-term growth.

Furthermore, the assertion that only so-called wealthy Americans are going to feel the pain of this tax increase is completely false. Initiatives such as the energy tax and the “cap-and-trade” proposal add another approximately $650 billion tax increase on domestic energy consumers. Anyone who heats their home, puts gas in their car, or turns on their lights will bear the brunt of this tax hike, not to mention the fact that it will further erode the U.S. job base and put American companies at a further competitive disadvantage with China and other countries.

Q2: It’s been rumored that President Obama’s budget relies on unrealistic growth rates in FY20111 & FY 2012. First, is that true? Secondly, does President Obama’s budget set us on a path for sustained economic growth?

Rep. Franks: No. The President’s budget does not put us on a path to sustained economic growth; in fact, elements of the plan will significantly weaken the U.S. economy. The budget relies on the outdated and disproven notions that massive government intervention in the marketplace can somehow spur economic growth, and that more spending can lead to creating wealth. The amount of borrowing and taxes hikes that will be necessary to finance the President’s drastic expansion of government will dampen incentives and crowd out opportunities for long-term investment and growth.

Q3: How worried are you that inflation will be what’s most remembered about the stimulus bill that President Obama signed? What’s the likelihood that economic growth will be the result of President Obama’s stimulus bill?

Rep. Franks: Already, we are witnessing the need for government to print major amounts of money to finance the amount of debt we have incurred in the 111th Congress alone. I am convinced that we will soon face a critical situation where inflation becomes a serious problem. Unsurprisingly, expected inflation is lower in the President’s budget than the private consensus. For instance, in 2011 and 2012, the administration foresees a mild inflation rate, slightly under 2.0 percent, while the Blue Chip consensus predicts higher inflation in the 2.5-percent range for this period. The primary takeaway from the administration’s economic forecast is that the recovery will be swift, after which we will enter into a period of quick growth coupled with low inflation. That is certainly the ideal economic scenario, but I believe, unless we witness a drastic change of course in the policies being pushed through by the Obama Administration, it is very unrealistic.

Q4: If President Obama’s budget doesn’t set us on a path to sustained economic growth, how would you change it to return us to the path of sustained prosperity?

Rep. Franks: Over hundreds of years, our free market economy has proven its resilience and it has allowed our nation to flourish with the most free, the most prosperous, and the most robust economy in the world. Now more than ever it is important that we remain committed to the tried-and-true principles that have guided us through stormy economic times. If there is anything I would change about the President’s budget, it would be to see a fundamental shift in focus to the mechanisms that will actually create wealth, not redistribute it, by providing tax relief for Americans and small businesses who are the only generators of long-term, sustainable economic productivity.

As you can see, I didn’t ask 4 softball questions. I asked questions that are weighing heavy on people’s minds. In return, Rep. Franks offered thoughful, detailed answers. What’s impressive to me is that he didn’t take the ‘Al Gore/John Kerry approach’ of talking down to us. If there’s anything that upsets me more than politicians talking down to me, I don’t know what that thing would be.

Rep. Franks isn’t bashful about proclaiming that free market economies have proven their resillience over the centuries. It’s something that conservatives must preach more often, especially with President Obama waging war with America’s free market system.

I’d like to thank Rep. Franks for taking the time to answer these important questions. It’s people like Rep. Franks that instill a sense of confidence that the GOP has a bright future.

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